AKRON—For years, Tire Business has gone to the private label marketers in the trenches, so to speak, not only to compile a directory of what brands they handle, but to gain insight into some of the concerns they have for their constantly evolving, rapidly changing industry. The following survey comments highlight some of what private branders are saying:
Have you experienced any loss of business to associate or flag brands?
``To a limited degree. Ownership of (our group) is a huge plus for us. That offsets the erosion.''—Del-Nat Tire Corp.
``(Our company) has not, but other private branders have. Our extensive network of owned distribution centers and high levels of service have protected our private brand business and kept it growing.''—Heafner Group.
``We've lost business to original equipment downstream closeouts. We have to source product more competitively to compete.''—TBC Corp.
``Yes, we have. We use stronger pull-through marketing programs'' to combat the problem.—TeamTBA.
Do you foresee further consolidation among private brand marketers?
``Most likely! There are fewer dealers to do business with who can support the necessary private brand numbers.''—Del-Nat.
``Yes, in order to boost sagging profits.''—Foreign Tire Sales Inc.
``Yes. A private brand group buying concept is no longer a viable concept in today's market. Consolidation of dealers and distributors is redefining the number of sales avenues.''—Heafner Group.
``Yes. It appears to be a natural evolution as manufacturers consolidate.''—Mickey Thompson Performance Tires.
``Yes, because there's a smaller customer base.''—a marketer in North Carolina.
``Yes, because of economies of scale and competition with name-brand manufacturers.''—a marketer in Philadelphia.
``It's very possible. There is excess capacity, slow industry growth and (stock-keeping unit) proliferation. Private branders will need increased volume to survive.''—TBC Corp.
Would you be willing to link your firm with another private brander or sell it to another if the right offer came along?
``We are open to looking at anyone's program.''—a marketer in Minnesota.
``No. We're doing good enough. It would take much more money than the company is worth.''— Foreign Tire Sales Inc.
``We may be interested in buying depending on the strength and volume of the brand, but are not interested in linking with another private brander.''—Heafner Group.
``Always open to interesting offers.''—President Tire Canada.
``Yes. Because of increases in volume. Maybe we can benefit from their line by offering more sizes.''—Tire Group International.
``Yes, because of prices and quality.''—Tirex Inc.