COLUMBUS, Ohio-Western Auto Supply Co. has received the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to acquire certain store and inventory assets of Nationwise Automotive Inc., a chain of auto parts stores in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee. Western Auto, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck and Co., said on Oct. 5 it plans to remodel the 84 Nationwise stores it purchased and operate them as Parts America, a division launched two years ago.
Columbus-based Nationwise, which had 132 stores, filed for bankruptcy protection in August.
Runflats most desired technology, study says
AGOURA HILLS, Calif.-Runflat tires top the list of emerging vehicle technologies that pique consumers' interest, according to a new J.D. Power and Associates study.
The study measured consumer opinions on new technologies currently being explored by auto manufacturers. Features that lessen the chance of an accident rated the highest, with 50 percent of the respondents willing to pay extra for them.
The study defined runflat tires as tires consumers could ``drive up to 100 miles on a flat tire, completely eliminating the need for a spare.''
Currently Goodyear, Bridge-stone/Firestone Inc. and Michelin North America market runflat tires.
Goodyear to bolster runflat production
AKRON-In anticipation of a greater demand from auto-makers, Goodyear said it will boost capacity at its Lawton, Okla., tire plant to produce its Eagle line of runflat, high-performance tires.
About half of Goodyear's $26.2 million capital investment in the plant will be used to increase production capacity of the Eagle GS-C EMT (extended mobility tire), as well as other high-performance tires with larger wheel diameters, said Sam Gibara, Goodyear president and COO. The remainder of the funds will be used to increase the plant's rubber mixing capacity.
Varity wants Hayes Wheels back in fold
BUFFALO, N.Y.-Varity Corp., a 46-percent stockholder of Hayes Wheels International Inc., has made an unsolicited bid to buy the remaining shares of the wheel manufacturer.
Buffalo-based Varity, a maker of brake systems and diesel engines, offered $25 a share, or about $236 million, for the shares. Hayes Wheels was spun out of Varity in 1992 when the parent firm restructured to reduce debt.
With Hayes Wheels, Varity would be able to more effectively market its Kelsey-Hayes braking systems by supplying a module or sub-assembly, which automakers increasingly desire, said Jesse Levine, an analyst with Seidman & Co. Inc. of New York.
Laramie to distribute tire brand in Mexico
NORRISTOWN, Pa.-Laramie Tire Distributors Inc. has begun distributing its Laramie brand tires in Mexico under an agreement with Grupo Jet Intercomercial S.A. De C.V. of Mexico.
Laramie and Grupo Jet have established three warehouses, in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Leon, to distribute products in about 18 states within Mexico.
Laramie is negotiating with Grupo Jet to also distribute its Telstar brand in Mexico and in Central America.
GSA to postpone Fed Tire Conference
WASHINGTON-The General Services Administration has decided to postpone its Federal Tire Conference in November until next spring due to budget concerns in various federal agencies, according to Kenneth L. Collings Jr., manager of the GSA Federal Tire Program.
``We got only about half the registrants we expected,'' Mr. Collings said. ``When we called some procurement officers to ask why they hadn't registered, they said their bosses nixed their attendance because of budget uncertainties.''
Dunlkokp Tire opens shop on Internet
BUFFALO, N.Y.-Dunlop Tire Corp. has opened a web site on the Internet that will provide information on how to buy tires, proper tire maintenance, as well as profiles of Dunlop products.
Internet users will be able to match Dunlop tires to their specific vehicles based on driving habits and climate, the company said.
The tire maker also is developing ``The Dunlop Retailer Locator,'' a system that will enable Internet users to locate their nearest Dunlop dealer.
United Tire talking with possible buyer
REXDALE, Ontario-United Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. and an unnamed U.S. firm are discussing the possibility of a bid for all of United Tire's outstanding shares.
No price has been agreed upon and there is no assurance an agreement will be reached, according to Rexdale-based United Tire, which manufactures industrial, specialty and off-the-road tires.