It's all semantics
Ever wonder where price discounting starts?
Consider this: Bridgestone/Firestone loses $200 on each and every tire it supplies to the racers at the Indy 500. BFS leases the precious rubber to each team for $700 a tire, but it costs them about $900 a tire to make, the company said at the launch in May of the Indy 500 tire.
The $200 difference falls under ``promotion'' in the annual budget.
A dynamite business
A few issues back, we ran a series of stories on non-tire-related activities tire dealers might consider to complement their bread-and-butter tire and automotive business-things like truck bed liners, or car stereos, trailer rentals, or....
Now consider the case of Arctic Tire 1980 Ltd., North America's northernmost tire dealership (150 miles north of the Arctic Circle). Located in Inuvik, Northwest Territories-``gateway to the Beaufort Delta''-Arctic Tire is a self-described ``multi-faceted'' company celebrating 20 years in business.
In addition to services one might expect at an isolated outpost-gas station, car wash, vehicle rentals, towing, etc.-Arctic Tire offers permafrost drilling expertise under its Rat Hole Drilling Ltd. subsidiary and is a certified agent for Explosives Ltd., Canada's largest distributor of dynamite. It also distributes acetylene and oxygen under its Igloo Specialties division.
Arctic Tire handles Goodyear and Michelin tires.
This 'n that
The deadline for entries has just passed, but we're anxious to see the winners.
Paint and coatings maker Rust-Oleum Corp. sponsored a contest this summer to determine ``America's messiest garage.'' The winning entry will be eligible for a $5,000 professional garage makeover from a Home Depot-approved contractor. Rust-Oleum also will award 25 runner-up prizes of the company's EpoxyShield garage floor coating.
Entrants were asked to submit a picture and 100-word explanation as to why the garage deserved a makeover. Winners will be announced Sept. 16.
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Dealers who've been around awhile will probably remember the ``Uniroyal gals''-the 50-foot tall fiberglass ladies with the bobbed hair and a tire in their raised left hands?
The Website www.roadsideamerica.com has tracked down several of them still standing around the country, including some still plying their trade at tire dealerships.
In many cases, though, the oversized Amazons have found new jobs: waitressing in Idaho, promoting a stock car race track in Illinois and a fireworks stand in Mississippi, part of a miniature golf course in Virginia, and-not surprisingly-clad in tight cut-offs and sporting a navel ring drawing crowds to a strip club in North Carolina.
Uniroyal gals still pitching tires can be found at Werbany's Tire Town in Hilltop, N.J., Reid Bethel Tire Co. in Lamesa, Texas, and an unnamed dealership in Mount Vernon, Ill.
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Poetic Justice? Seems a petty thief in England lifted some poor woman's bank card, and used it to place a bet on the ponies at the local track. As luck would have it, the thief picked a winner, but when he went to collect his winnings, he was informed that the money was being deposited directly into ``his'' account because he didn't have a proper piece of photo identification with him. Depending upon which account of this story you read, the ``victim'' of this crime got a windfall of several hundred to several thousand dollars!
``Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.''-author Malcolm Muggeridge.
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``Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.''-publisher and entrepreneur Malcolm S. Forbes.
For those who pay attention to these things,... Pirelli's 2002 calendar (``Beyond Nudity'') pays homage to the United States. All the photos were shot in the U.S., at Paramount Studios in California, and the cover is none other than 17-year-old Lauren Bush, niece of President George W. Bush....And speaking of our Commander-in-Chief, don't miss your chance to get a copy of the George W. Bush $10 coin offered by the American Mint-as long as you don't mind paying $10 (plus shipping and handling) for a coin from the Republic of Liberia!
Michigan costliest for car owners
It costs more to own and operate a car in Michigan than any other state, according to management consultants Runzheimer International, while drivers in Alabama spend on average $1,567 less per year to operate their cars.
Annual operating costs for a passenger car-including fuel, oil, tires and maintenance-run $2,070 in Michigan; fixed costs, which include insurance, depreciation, financing, taxes etc., add $6,599 to the tab. In Alabama, the costs are $1,890 and $5,212, respectively. Operating costs are highest in Hawaii at $2,550 per year, but fixed costs are lower, Runzheimer said.
Runzheimer chalks up the differences primarily to insurance, which is influenced by accident rates, collision damage, auto theft and medical claims.
One trend to keep an eye on-tire costs. If, as several tire makers claim, demand for snow tires rebounds, operating costs will rise in the Snow Belt states. Looking at vehicle operating costs a different way, Runzheimer says the Mercedes-Benz 500S is the most expensive car to operate, at $23,577 a year, followed by the Cadillac DeVille and Lincoln Town Car, at $15,674 and $15,132, respectively.
By comparison, the Honda Civic LX owner shells out only $7,135 a year to keep that car on the road.
The most expensive van/SUV to operate is the Ford Econoline E350 XL at $11,715, according to Runzheimer's data.
Edited by Bruce Davis