SAN CLEMENTE, Calif.-Sick of tire makers jumping over your head to sell direct to the consumer? Do your suppliers bob and weave when you remind them of your role in the tire distribution chain?
Then nominate that errant tire supplier for the ``Orion Tire-Golden Kangaroo of the Year Award.''
Orion Tire Corp. President and CEO Nicholas Clarkehas created the somewhat tongue-in-cheek award to ``honor'' manufacturers and suppliers who have sidestepped the independent dealer distribution channel.
``The independents are still the key-the lifeblood-of the industry,'' he said. ``Manufacturing companies are forgetting that.''
According to San Clemente-based Orion Tire, the annual award will be presented to the company that: ``successfully completes the highest number of jumps over the heads of middlemen in their quest to deal direct and circumvent the chain of distribution,'' or achieves ``a coup, which...can be classified as the most spectacular jump of the year.''
Independent tire dealers and distributors worldwide are eligible to make nominations, and a dealer panel will do the judging. The Golden Kangaroo will be given for the first time at the International Tyre Traders Summit, April 19-21 in Cannes, France.
``Orion's management is concerned at the increasing decline of business ethics in the industry in general,'' the company said, ``which, in the scramble for increased profitability, is contributing to a disregard and lack of recognition of the part certain dealers or distributors have played in the promotion and creation of brand recognition of a company's product.''
Mr. Clarke held positions with Michelin Americas Small Tires, General Tire and Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. before founding Orion Tire Corp. in 1989. China Tire Holdings Ltd. now owns the majority share of the private brand distributor.
During those earlier stints, he had the responsibility of notifying distributors that their supplier was going to open additional distribution points in their areas. ``Dirty work,'' he called it.
Initially, the award may not be taken too seriously, Mr. Clarke admitted. But he hopes manufacturers will get the ``message,'' and begin to see the Golden Kangaroo as a ``Kiss-of-Death award to be avoided at all costs.''
Dealers and distributors can make nominations by writing: Orion Tire Corp., 1010 Calle Recodo, Unit A, Rancho San Clemente Business Park, San Clemente, Calif. 92672; (714) 361-0030. Fax: (714) 361-0034.