MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 12, 2001)—This will go down as the year American Car Care Centers Inc. achieved its long-sought goal of exceeding 1,000 member dealers.
Currently, the 12-year-old group's membership stands at 1,015 dealers. But with two months still to go in 2001, it's likely that ACCC will wind up the year exceeding that total. Even with attrition among the group's existing membership, ACCC has been signing up between eight to 10 new member dealers monthly, according to ACCC President and CEO Len Lewin. The group, founded in 1989, also includes 19 member distributors who are shareholders in the company.
Memphis-based ACCC distributes Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Continental, General, Guardian and Nankang tires in addition to its own American Radial brand. Collectively, ACCC members are expected to handle about 15 million units this year, amounting to nearly $1.9 billion in sales, Mr. Lewin said.
Contrary to the industry at large, he said, ACCC's sales were running well ahead of the previous year prior to September. Sales did fall off immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. Nevertheless, “We're very confident that we're going to finish the year well ahead of last year's totals,” Mr. Lewin said.
During last fall and this past spring, ACCC launched its first national advertising campaign, using the theme, “Five reasons to choose us (American Car Care Centers) for your tires” and promoting ACCC dealerships as “the right choice for the right reasons.” The “five reasons” as depicted in the ads were five children—there to remind motorists of just how much is at stake in maintaining their vehicles and tires in safe working order.
“We've continued to build on that theme and also have had a number of local ads based on it as well,” Mr. Lewin said. One ACCC member, Summit Tire of Brockton, Mass., substituted five local children in adapting the print and television ads to the dealership's marketplace, running a contest to determine which youngsters would be selected.
Meanwhile, about 250 dealers and their spouses are expected for an ACCC gathering in Las Vegas Oct. 29, one day prior to the opening of the giant Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo in that city.
ACCC also will host a Caribbean cruise for members in January at which the company's marketing program for the next 12 months will be unveiled. To date, about 360 dealers have signed up, Mr. Lewin said.