Pricing column on target
Chuck Slaybaugh's column, "Dealers key to makers' profitability," in the Feb. 28 issue, hit the nail on the head.
I worked in Goodyear's company store operations for 13 years and now have my own independent Goodyear dealership.
While I still consider myself a loyal blueblood Goodyear supporter, I have complained for years about the company's decision to sell Goodyear-brand tires through Sears, NTB, Wal-Mart and other mass merchandisers.They're retailing certain lines such as the Wrangler GSA and Eagle RSA for less than I can buy them as a dealer. This is ridiculous since we Goodyear dealers are supposed to be Goodyear's No. 1 customer.
My personal opinion is that (in dealing through these non-dealer channels) Goodyear has increased unit sales but at such a low margin that it has hurt the company financially.
Anyone doubting this needs only to look at the company's bottom line or at the sad performance of Goodyear stock on Wall Street.
Goodyear's management should take a serious look at how the firm does business and refocus on its No. 1 customer: the independent dealer.
Waterdam Auto Service Inc.
Dealer's lawsuit lauded
Ray Bennett of DeKalb Tire Co. in Atlanta, deserves a salute and the support of every independent tire dealer (in his lawsuit charging Michelin North America Inc. with unlawful price discrimination, as reported March 12.)
As independent tire dealers, we have all been on the most unlevel playing field for so long that it's pitiful.
Simply comparing the typical independent dealer's tire prices with those of the mail-order houses, Sears, Roebuck and Co. or other big box stores makes it painfully obvious that Michelin and other major tire makers are in bed with these guys. I would guess that there is a 25-percent price difference in their favor.
I wish Mr. Bennett and his family all the best and I hope he gives them hell in court.
President and CEO
Direct Tire and Auto Service
Ford (not Firestone) recall
It should be known as the "Ford Explorer" and not the "Firestone tire" recall.
The problem is with the vehicle and not the tires. I have yet to hear of a Jeep, Toyota, Chevy S-10 Blazer, Ford F150 or any vehicle other than the Ford Explorer rolling over due to having Firestone ATX or Wilderness AT tires on it.
Alpio A. Barbara
Redwood General Tire
Redwood City, Calif.
Firestone is being blamed for something that's not its fault. It's the car manufacturer that's to blame—not the tires.
The original equipment rims on the Ford Explorer are too wide for its 75-series Firestone tires. As a result, rubber is worn away on both sides of the tire's crown near the edge of the steel belt. This leads to cracking of the remaining rubber and potentially to an eventual tread separation.
Years ago, I found similar problems with 75-series tires. So we stopped installing 75-series and went to the equivalent-sized 70- or 60-series tires, and that corrected the situation.
Alex Tire Service