NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. could greatly bolster its brand exposure in the U.S. under a new supply agreement with the nation's largest tire dealer marketing network, American Car Care Centers. Under the multi-million-dollar pact, signed Feb. 6, ACCC will distribute the complete line of Pirelli tires through its 18 wholesaler members and network of more than 800 retail outlets. Currently about 40 percent of ACCC's membership carries Pirelli tires, according to ACCC President and COO Len Lewin.
``One key factor in our decision to add Pirelli as a strategic partner was the brand's potential to drive new retail customers into our outlets,'' Mr. Lewin said.
The Pirelli line will supplement ACCC's tire brand offering, which includes the Michelin Americas Small Tires brands, General and ACCC's own private labels.
``We are adding a line of tires to provide growth without displacing the brands we now carry,'' Mr. Lewin said.
Mr. Lewin acknowledged PATC's problems in the U.S. market, including the closure of one of its two U.S. tire plants, but he contended that ACCC did ``a lot of research and soul searching'' before inking the supply agreement.
``The main key is that we do not take on any brand if we don't plan to support it,'' he said.
``The ACCC tire product committee has done a tremendous amount of work establishing the proper product screens for the group,'' said Dennis Mangola, Aspen Enterprises/AMPAC president and ACCC tire product committee chairman.
``We identified a need for Pirelli within our product selection. Pirelli can complement our current product offering very nicely,'' he said.
Mr. Lewin did not divulge the exact value of the supply agreement, which has a multi-year, open-ended term. The agreement provides for the full range of Pirelli products with marketing and training support.