SUMARe, Brazil-Tire retailers in Brazil are divided into two categories, according to M rcio da Costa, president of Abrapneus, the country's principal dealer association. The top tier comprises the 1,500 members of Abrapneus-AssociacaÃo Brasiliera dos Revendedores de Pneus. These tire ``resellers'' generally operate wholesale/retail dealerships and are the only dealers authorized to purchase directly from the tire manufacturers.
Last year, Abrapneus members moved 16 million tires into the Brazilian aftermarket-virtually all of the country's replacement tire production, Mr. Costa said.
Together, the Abrapneus members operate about 4,000 retail outlets, he said, and wholesale tires to the second tier of retailers, who account for another 4,000 to 5,000 points of sale, some of which are ``little more than a garage door.''
Brazilian consumers are extremely brand-oriented, Mr. Costa said, and most Abrapneus members are strongly identified with a single major brand. Private label tires do not exist, he said.
Commodity tires hold the lion's share of the retail aftermarket, Mr. Costa said. Because of the country's relatively poor highway system, high performance tires are of little significance, he said. Light truck tires, though a rapidly grow-ing segment, account for few units.
Virtually all the eligible dealers belong to Abrapneus, Mr. Costa said, as the country's political and economic instability has made it imperative that they band together for self-defense.
As recently as a year ago, the rate of inflation in Brazil was 50 percent per month, though it recently has slowed to less than 1 percent per month.