We Goodyear dealers in the sunny Southwest are cautiously elated with recent comments in trade magazines and dealer council meetings by Sam Gibara, Goodyear's executive vice president for North American tires. Hopefully, he realizes we have heard, for two years, similar wonderful statements about the importance of the ``traditional'' Goodyear dealer from Stanley Gault, John Fiedler, Ed Gallagher, Al Eastwood and Barry Robbins.
After reading their flowery comments, and listening to Barry Robbins say in San Antonio last year that ``Discount Tire has not affected traditional Goodyear dealers,'' we then get back to the real everyday world of trying to sell Goodyear tires to customers who have been quoted by Discount Tire a price at or below our cost and at times on a product we can't get but they can.
Mr. Gibara can make strides with traditional Goodyear dealers, but probably small strides. Most dealers in Texas believe the only way he can regain most of what Goodyear has lost is by putting us on a level playing field with Discount Tire.
One Goodyear executive indicated he didn't know what ``level playing field'' meant. That sounds incredible, but for his information Webster defines level as ``perfectly flat and even-not sloping-equal in importance, etc.''
To us this means: same price; same terms; same advertising co-op and help; same lease reductions; same inventory availability; and possibly more we're not aware of.
To keep us on a playing field where the water drains more one way than the other will continue to drown us. We are now, however, learning to tread water, with the help of other suppliers and our own organizations of Goodyear dealers.
So, for most of the dealers in the Southwest and Michigan, I say to Mr. Gibara, anything less than a ``level playing field'' with Discount Tire is like putting a band-aid on a severed artery.
For all the other fine ``traditional Goodyear dealers'' around the U.S. who have not been affected by Discount Tire, we offer these comments:
We have found through organizational strength who our real ``partners'' are;
Thanks to many of you for your support; and
Hang loose and be prepared-your area may be next.
Gregory Tire & Auto Service