Upset by Goodyear's recent distribution decisions, a group of the Akron tire maker's independent dealers in metropolitan Baltimore met with company officials Jan. 9 to discuss their concerns.
The dealers, who make up the Baltimore Independent Goodyear Gemini (BIGG) dealers, sent a letter to Goodyear Dec. 11 outlining their concerns.
``By choosing to sell direct to the regional retailer, you have now enabled our competition to take advantage of our market that we have worked many years to build,'' the dealers wrote.
At the Jan. 9 meeting, Goodyear highlighted its intent to tap into larger tire retailing chains to recover market share, two dealers said. Though a Goodyear spokesman in Akron declined to comment on the specifics of the meeting, company officials and analysts in the past have said recovering market share is on the tire maker's to-do list.
The company, for instance, recently signed a distribution agreement with Memphis, Tenn.-based distributor TBC Corp., which owns retailing giants Big O Tires Inc. and Tire Kingdom Inc.
Jay Huff, president of Brooks-Huff Tire and Auto Center in Hunt Valley, Md., said he can see Goodyear's position.
``We understand why they're looking at this type of distribution, but we disagree with the quality of the chain store they selected,'' he told Tire Business.
The Baltimore dealers were primarily upset by Goodyear's decision late last year to add Mr. Tire Auto Service Centers to its stable of authorized dealers.
But Joe Tomarchio, executive vice president and co-founder of Mr. Tire, said the 32-year-old chain's 44 locations-which he said hold about 20 percent market share in the region-are high quality.
``I'll put my stores up against anybody's,'' he said.
Steve Cascio, owner of Carney Tire & Car Care Center Inc. in Baltimore, said he hopes that Goodyear doesn't leave its independent dealers behind.
``They need to focus on what they already had instead of taking them for granted,'' he said.