MEMPHIS Tenn.-Del-Nat Tire Corp., marketer of Delta, National and Akuret brand tires, has expanded its product offerings to include wheels, shocks, brakes and other automotive accessories. The accessories programs, which are ``supplemental'' to the firm's existing tire programs, began around April, according to Vice President of Sales Don Helker.
The Memphis-based marketer is now distributing Progressive Wheels; Friction Master brakes; COFAP shocks and struts; Exide batteries; and tire service equipment from Gray Products Corp. and FMC Corp.
The products are offered both through Del-Nat's 300,000-sq.-ft. Memphis warehouse and direct from the manufacturers, Mr. Helker said.
Del-Nat, which has more than 100 stockholder-distributors and about 2,000 retail points of sale in the U.S., decided distributing accessory items would benefit both its dealers and their customers, he added.
R.K. Kepple, owner of Export, Pa.-based Export Tire Co. and Del-Nat's secretary, agreed that diversifying into other automotive products was a wise move.
``It doesn't seem like you can make much money on anything,'' he said, commenting on the low margins of many automotive aftermarket products. ``What you've got to do is make a little money a lot of times. It helps when you have more things to sell.''
Wholesalers can now use all of the products to fill a trailer-load order, Mr. Helker said, meaning more efficiency in just-in-time deliveries and fewer overstocked tire products. Mid-sized dealers, he noted, are now able to drop ``three or four'' of their suppliers and deal strictly through Del-Nat.
``They don't have to pay five bills, they just have one,'' he said.
Del-Nat is looking at expanding its accessories coverage in the future and perhaps developing its own private brand lines, said Mr. Helker, who intends to look at new programs during October's Specialty Equipment Market Association/Auto International Association Show in Las Vegas.
Still, Del-Nat's accessories programs always will remain secondary to tires, according to President Bob Gardner. ``We never want to lose sight of our tire business,'' he said. ``That's our No. 1.''