Yokohama adds roadside service
FULLERTON, Calif.-Yokohama Tire Corp. will add emergency roadside tire assistance to all its national fleet accounts.
Dubbed YES (Yokohama Emergency Service), the program includes all Yokohama medium truck commercial tires available through Yokohama's national account program.
All national accounts in good standing with the company are eligible for the program. Yokohama dealers stocking Yokohama commercial tires and providing 24-hour service will be included in the referral listing, said the Fullerton-based tire maker.
The cost to national accounts includes a $25 service fee, standard labor charges and the cost of the tires, Yokohama said. The YES program is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dispatchers locate the nearest Yokohama dealer available for service.
TKI opens 4 stores; more planned soon
RIVIERA BEACH, Fla.-Tire Kingdom Inc., a subsidiary of TBC Corp., has opened four new stores in the south and southeast.
The new locations are in Concord and Charlotte, N.C., and Luling and Hammond, La., according to Bob Patron, Tire Kingdom director, new store operations. The new quartet brings Tire Kingdom's total outlets to 208. The company has plans for three more locations in the near future, he said.
Those and other TK outlets may be staffed by former employees of Penske Auto Centers Inc., which closed its 562 stores in early April. Aubrey Felton, TKI's vice president, retail, said the company has looked into hiring former Penske employees at locations in all markets.
``We've gotten quite a few mid-level managers and a lot of assistant and store managers,'' said Mr. Felton. ``There were a few people we knew of that we reached out for.''
Michelin gives tire 65K mile warranty
GREENVILLE, S.C-In what it called ``a way of acknowledging the value already built into the tire,'' Michelin North America Inc. has backed its Cross Terrain sport-utility vehicle tire with a 65,000-mile warranty.
The Cross Terrain SUV tire was designed to meet the handling and performance needs of SUVs, Michelin said. It is available at independent Michelin dealers throughout North America in 27 different sizes ranging from P215/70R15 to P275/55R18. It previously had no mileage warranty.
Penske customers: Go to Goodyear
TROY, Mich.-Goodyear-owned retail outlets have been named the ``preferred'' national service and warranty provider for former Penske Auto Centers L.L.C. customers.
Under the arrangement, more than 800 Goodyear company-owned Gemini and Just Tires outlets are authorized to provide tire and related service warranty work for customers who had patronized the 562 recently closed Penske Auto Center locations.
In some cases where a Goodyear company outlet cannot accommodate a Penske customer, a referral will be made to an independent Goodyear dealer, Penske said.
To identify the nearest authorized Goodyear outlet, customers are being told to call 1-877-99-PENSKE. Penske customers also can talk with a customer sales representative by calling a toll-free number-(800) 889-5458-to obtain other information.
Goodyear had been the exclusive supplier of tires to the Penske chain, which shut down operations nationwide April 6 after losing 63 outlets in the wake of landlord Kmart Corp.'s bankruptcy filing.
Mickey Thompson murder trial July 8
SANTA ANA, Calif.-A trial date has been set for the man accused in the 14-year-old murders of racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy.
Michael Frank Goodwin will stand trial July 8. Mr. Goodwin, 57, a former business partner of Mr. Thompson's, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and three special circumstance charges: lying in wait, murder for financial gain and multiple homicides.
His pre-trial date is set for June 28, followed by a jury trial beginning July 8 before Judge Frank Briseno in California's Orange County Superior Court.
Ford, Firestone ties to end soon
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Bridgestone/Firestone still supplies original equipment tires for Ford Motor Co. vehicles, but that should end in ``a couple of months'' as soon as Ford qualifies new OE suppliers for those models, a BFS spokeswoman said.
BFS officially severed its 95-year relationship with Ford in May 2001, after the auto maker unilaterally decided to replace 13 million Firestone tires on Ford vehicles, in addition to the 6.5 million Firestone tires BFS recalled.
But the tire maker has continued to honor its pre-existing commitments to Ford. ``We always said we wouldn't leave them hanging,'' the spokeswoman said.
Heafner earnings up, sales down
CHARLOTTE, N.C.-Heafner Tire Group Inc.'s pre-tax operating income more than doubled in 2002's first quarter, over last year, despite a slight drop in sales. However, the company, which is changing its name to American Tire Distributors July 4, reported a net loss for the period of $756,000.
Heafner credited a decline in operating expenses for its rise in EBITDA-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization-to $7.4 million from $2.9 million a year ago. Sales fell 1.5 percent to $251.6 million.
Heafner's net loss was affected by its retirement in mid-April of $121.4 million in bonds, the company said.
``With our tight cost controls, we are in an excellent position to weather the industrywide slowdown and to profit as sales pick up,'' said Richard P. Johnson, Heafner's president and CEO.
The bond retirement meant the company had to make eliminations for extraordinary gains from the action. The loss was an improvement, though, over a loss of $8.6 million last year.
Heafner, a nationwide distributor of tires, wheels and automotive accessories, operates 62 distribution centers in 35 states.
Singer's family sues BFS, Ford
MIAMI-The family of an Argentine pop singer has filed a wrongful death suit against Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone in Miami federal district court.
Rodrigo Bueno and an actor friend, Fernando Leon Olmedo, were killed in Buenos Aires in June 2000. Mr. Bueno swerved his Ford Explorer to avoid hitting another car, and the vehicle rolled over.
Mr. Bueno's girlfriend, son and personal assistant were injured in the crash. A Ford spokeswoman said the auto maker hadn't yet seen a copy of the lawsuit, but noted an Associated Press story on the suit that said a Buenos Aires court found Mr. Bueno solely responsible for the accident.
Bridgestone/Firestone officials weren't available for comment.
Cooper elects Fiedler director
FINDLAY, Ohio-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. shareholders have elected former Goodyear executive John F. Fiedler to the company's board of directors, along with re-electing Edsel D. Dunford and Dennis J. Gormley to new three-year terms as members of the board.
The elections came during the Findlay-based firm's annual meeting of shareholders.
Mr. Fiedler is chairman and CEO of BorgWarner Inc., an automotive parts manufacturer with headquarters in Chicago. Before joining BorgWarner in 1994, he spent 29 years at Goodyear.
The announcements came as Cooper management presented highlights of the year and restated a positive outlook for continued sales growth, reduced debt and improved operating efficiencies for the remainder of 2002.
Mexican MRTI plant operating
MEXICO CITY-Michelin Retread Technologies Inc.'s first franchisee in Mexico has started operations at a plant in Queretaro.
Industrias Michelin S.A. de C.V., a Michelin North America Inc. operating unit in Mexico City, granted the franchise late last year to Multillantas Nieto S.A. de C.V., which started operations just before year-end.
Michelin did not disclose any further information about the franchisee or the shop, but Jose Ramon de la Torre, general director, was quoted in Mexican media saying Multillantes Nieto invested $2 million in the plant, which is rated at 120 tires a day.
Multillantes Nieto operates two tire service locations, one in Queretaro and one in San Juan del Rio, according to a Queretaro business information Web site.
Kumho offers MOMO shades
FONTANA, Calif.-Kumho Tire U.S.A. is kicking off its summer sales season by offering consumers a pair of MOMO Design sunglasses valued at $80 with the purchase of four Kumho ECSTA ultra-high performance tires.
The promotion will run from May 18 through July 4, according to Fontana-based Kumho. Qualifying tires include the ECSTA 712, the ECSTA MX and the ECSTA STX.
Ford settles suits over Fla. accidents
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-Ford Motor Co. has settled several tire-related lawsuits out of court, including two involving fatal rollover accidents.
News reports said the total number of settled cases was seven; a Ford spokeswoman couldn't confirm the number, but said the settlements were ``nothing out of the ordinary. More than 90 percent of all lawsuits are settled out of court, and this is in line with that.''
Gary Pajcic, the plaintiffs' attorney in the cases, could not be reached for comment. He told the Associated Press, however, that he had about 10 cases still pending against Ford, and also has settled most of his tire cases against BFS.
Treadways names Araki president
NORTH WALES, Pa.-Treadways Corp. has appointed Roy Araki its new president.
He will report to CEO Dan G. Wire and oversee day-to-day operations of the tire marketer.
The move will allow Mr. Wire to be more involved in the company's long-term strategic planning, acquisitions and customer and supplier relations, Treadways said.
Mr. Araki began his tire industry career in 1975 at Sumitomo Corp. The past two years he was general manager of e-business in Tokyo. His career with Sumitomo includes supervising tire exports for the U.S. He also worked for the Sumitomo Tire division of North Wales-based Treadways.
While assistant to the president at Treadways, Mr. Araki was involved with the acquisition of Eldorado Tire. From 1996-99 he was general manager of general products for Sumitomo. During this time he was a Treadways board member.
Treadways markets Sumitomo, Laramie, Eldorado, Jetzon, Telstar and Centennial brand tires.