AKRON-American Car Care Centers Inc., which marked its fifth anniversary Aug. 17, remains North America's largest and fastest-growing dealer marketing group, with 18 participating distributors serving 832 outlets. Since last year, ACCC has increased its distributor roster by one and added 198 participating outlets, according to General Manager Dennis DeLeonard.
The Memphis, Tenn.-based group increased the number of its distributors to 18 and added 84 participating outlets with the signing in April of Tire Pros Inc. of Semi Valley, Calif. The move also gave ACCC a marketing presence in all 50 states.
If the group continues growing at its present accellerated pace, Mr. DeLeonard believes, ACCC could surpass its previously expressed goal of having 2,000 member outlets by the year 2000.
During the past 12 months, the group:
Shifted production of its American Radial tire lines to Michelin Americas Small Tires (MAST) from Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s Dayton Tire unit:
Introduced a companion tire line called Guardian;
Initiated a just-in-time parts delivery program;
Added a major credit card program;
Debuted the group's first TV commercials; and
Implemented its first nationwide employee training certification program.
In coming months, ACCC will concentrate its recruitment on the Midwest and other areas where it needs greater representation, Mr. DeLeonard said.
Metro 25, meanwhile, which earlier this year reorganized into a dealer-owned cooperative, has persuaded about 80 percent of its members to become shareholders, according to a spokeswoman for the Detroit-based group.
Under the new cooperative setup, dealers and distributors have the option of becoming owners with full voting privileges by making a $5,000 initial stock purchase and paying a monthly fee of $200 per location to defray the cost of point-of-sale materials, sales meetings, advertising and training programs.
Dealers who elect not to buy into the cooperative can pay $95 monthly to belong to Metro 25 and participate in its programs. But they do not have voting rights or receive shareholder dividends.
Metro 25 currently has seven participating distributors and 300 outlets-down from eight distributors and 315 participating outlets in 1993.
The group's distributors are located in Oklahoma, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Dakota, Michigan and Florida.
The National brand remains Metro 25's primary tire line, but members also have access to the associate brands of Michelin Americas Small Tires, including Cavalier, Miller, Brunswick and Diamond.
During the past 12 months, the group also became the exclusive U.S. distributor for the Axxium brand, owned by Axxium International Corp. of Milan, Italy-at the same time laying the groundwork for launching the Metro 25 program in Europe.
Plans call for setting up the first Metro 25 distribution system in France by the end of 1995; a similar system in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium by the end of 1996; and another in the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and the Scandinavian countries in 1997.
Jetzon One is absent from this year's accompanying chart since the program's sponsor, Montgomeryville, Pa.-based Jetzon Tire & Rubber Co., has all but phased it out in favor of the company's newer ``authorized dealer'' program, introduced in Feburary.
Most of Jetzon One's nine former participating distributors and 110 outlets have been recruited to participate in the ``authorized dealer'' program, which offers many of the same marketing benefits without requiring participants to pay fees, according to Fred Hoffman, the company's vice president of marketing.
To date, about 500 companies have signed up for the ``authorized dealer'' program, Mr. Hoffman said.
Virtually the last remaining ``outpost'' for the Jetzon One program is in St. Gabriel, La., a suburb of Baton Rouge, where Consolidated Tire & Oil Co. distributes to about 10 participating outlets.
Glen Yoes, Consolidated Tire vice president and co-owner, said Jetzon One is working satisfactorily for the group because the 10 outlets are located close enough to share the same advertising media.
However, Mr. Yoes doesn't see these outlets remaining with the program indefinitely, noting that tire makers are now offering programs intended to serve the same functions as dealer marketing groups.
———————————————————————————————————-DEALERSHIP MARKETING PROGRAMS
Company/ Participating Total
location distributors outlets
American Car Care 18 832
Metro 25 Tire 7 300