Tuffy purchases Car-X TOLEDO, Ohio-Tuffy Associates Corp., which operates Tuffy Auto Service Centers, has entered into an agreement in which a Tuffy subsidiary will purchase substantially all the assets of SMK Speedy International Inc.'s Car-X automotive repair business in the U.S.
The deal is expected to close within 90 days.
Privately held Tuffy operates 250 locations-95 percent of them franchised operations-in 17 states.
The Car-X business being acquired by Tuffy consists of substantially all the operating assets of both Car-X Service Systems Inc. (CSSI)-a franchiser of 183 automotive repair stores in the U.S.-and all but 12 of the stores of Discoverer Services Inc., which operates 51 of the 183 CSSI franchised stores.
Car-X's franchise business is concentrated in 10 midwestern states.
Tuffy said it plans to manage the two businesses as separate brands to the consumer, while still ``leveraging the strength'' of the combined unit for the benefit of the franchisees and the customers of both brands. Keenan Moran, Tuffy president and CEO, said the company's management ``recognizes that the Car-X system brings with it a strong group of franchise dealers, an outstanding corporate staff and a well recognized brand. Car-X is typically one of the dominant players in each of the markets where they do business.''
Mr. Moran called Car-X ``a well-managed organization throughout'' and said the transaction will provide an ``outstanding opportunity'' for both auto repair companies.
According to Car-X's Web site, the company is ``more than just mufflers and brakes.'' Like Tuffy, its services include oil, lube and filter, batteries, anti-freeze service, belts, wheel balancing, rack-and-pinion work, coil springs, CV joints, wipers and air conditioning service.
Founded in 1970, Toledo-based Tuffy opened its first muffler shop in Detroit. Since then, the company has evolved to operate auto centers that offer a broad range of services including the repair of brakes, exhaust, ride control, air conditioning, heating and cooling, and starting and charging systems and tire sales. The outlets also offer services such as regularly scheduled maintenance, oil changes and alignments.
Not all Tuffy locations sell tires, but a company spokesman said franchisees sell a variety of brands-with most carrying Goodyear, Kelly and Firestone.
About 80-85 percent of Tuffy dealers currently offer tires, he added.
Calls to two Akron area Tuffy shops, for example, found one selling Dean tires-a Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. associate label-while the other carried the Cooper brand.
A store manager told Tire Business his outlet had a limited choice of passenger and light truck tires-one brand and, for cars, only one line with a 70,000-mile warranty-``as a convenience for our customers.'' However, the store ``can get practically anything, except Michelins,'' he added, and has access to a full line of Goodyear tires.
Tuffy is a member of the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP), which requires adherence to MAP's vehicle inspection, maintenance and repair guidelines.