Vanishing breed? Where is the ``independent'' tire dealer heading?
Who is representing the ``independent tire dealer'' these days?
Is he going the way of the now-all-but-non-existant ``service-station'' operator?
DeCarolis Truck Rental
Editor's note: Mr. DePaolis is a former independent tire dealer and a past president of the former National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, now called the Tire Association of North America.
Rx for telephone-itis
Thanks for being the hub of the tire information wheel. It's the experience of others that you share in your publication that means so much to me.
Automotive service writer Dan Marinucci's Mar. 29 column on ``Curbing phone-itis'' (by not forcing customers to wait at the service counter while you answer the telephone) cured my insanity.
I'm in sales, and the telephone drives me nuts. Thanks for providing the antidote.
Big O Tires
Direct selling by Pirelli
We enjoy reading Tire Business. However, I take issue with a statement in your April 12 article, ``Pirelli-Cooper: A powerful force.''
The first sentence reads, ``Pirelli dealers needn't worry about their supplier's commitment to the North American market.'' I couldn't disagree more.
Pirelli dealers had better worry more than ever about the company taking away their associate accounts by signing them up ``direct.''
Most tire makers have volume purchase agreements, but Pirelli does not. It has been making direct accounts of auto dealerships whose typical monthly purchases are less than 100 tires.
We're a Pirelli direct distributor after being signed up this past January. We've sold Pirelli tires at our two retail locations and serviced the Pirelli tire needs of our local Jaguar car dealerships for more than five years.
Recently, we've expanded these efforts to other Jaguar dealerships, supplying them with more than several hundred such tires each month.
I was somewhat surprised when the local Pirelli sales representative signed us up ``direct,'' apparently not concerned about the distributor who had been supplying us for years. That experience should have taught me a valuable lesson.
Now the situation is reversed and our largest auto dealership customer has informed me they no longer will be buying from us—not because we did anything wrong or our prices were too high or our service too slow (it's hourly). No, simply because Pirelli made them a ``direct'' purchaser.
As a direct account, the auto dealership now enjoys a lower buying price (about 12 percent less than ours), with free delivery on all tires purchased.
My initial reaction was one of disbelief! Why would a manufacturer sidestep the distribution network—the warehouses stocking its tires and small independent dealerships like ours that supply the end-user? Why disrupt the flow?
They can fill Cooper warehouses with all the Pirelli tires they want, but our stores won't be supporting that brand any longer.
There are too many other manufacturers willing to remain loyal to the dealers selling their product.
The newest Jaguar model that recently was introduced also comes with Bridgestone tires. Maybe Pirelli has angered a few others.
All Seasons Tire Centers Inc.