LOS ANGELES-The Tire Factory Groupe L.L.C. ``affinity group'' changed its name Oct. 1 to United Tire Dealers L.L.C., with dealers in California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii flying the Tire Factory flag soon changing to yet-to-be finalized United Tire Dealers signage by early next year.
The change is taking place to avoid possible confusion with Tire Factory dealers throughout the Pacific Northwest, according to Gary Ceazan, executive director of the Los Angeles group.
Northwest Tire Factory Group controls the rights to the Tire Factory name, and the two groups agreed to the change earlier this year, according to Nick Hodel, CEO of the Portland, Ore.-based Northwest group. Some years ago, the two groups envisioned one day operating under a common umbrella, but over time the Los Angeles group evolved more into a buying group whereas the Northwest group is an active marketing cooperative, Mr. Hodel said.
Tire Factory Groupe comprises 80 dealers operating 205 stores, predominantly in California, Mr. Ceazan said. Tire Factory Groupe members retain their individual indentities in the marketplace, using Tire Factory as secondary identification; the group's primary function is to negotiate goods and service supply contracts for its members, Mr. Ceazan said.
Among prominent Tire Factory Groupe member companies are: Big Brand Tire of Bakersfield, Calif.; Ramona Tire Inc. in Hemet, Calif.; Rynick Tire & Auto Center in Pleasonton, Calif.; Tire Guys of Hesperia, Calif.; and Western Tire Centers of Tucson, Ariz.
With the change, Northwest Tire Factory will be able to recruit dealers in northern California for the Tire Factory program. Currently, there are three dealers in California who are part of Northwest Tire Factory.
Collectively, Northwest Tire Factory has 110 dealer members operating 144 stores in five states.