Pep Boys a top 'corporate citizen'
PHILADELPHIA-Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack was the only tire-related company to be named one of the ``Top 100 Corporate Citizens'' in 2002 by Business Ethics magazine.
Pep Boys placed No. 44 in the ranking, which is based on quantitative measures of corporate service to customers, community, employees, environment, women and minorities and stockholders. The list is published annually in the publication's spring issue. General Mills Inc. placed first in the list.
``This is a wonderful honor for Pep Boys,'' said Mitch Leibovitz, retiring chairman and CEO of the Philadelphia-based automotive service chain.
Pep Boys operates 629 stores and more than 6,500 service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico.
Kumho adds tech support post
FONTANA, Calif.-Kumho Tire USA added a position to provide technical support to Kumho dealers and customers.
Aaron Smith, named to the position of technical service representative, will be based in the Kumho Technical Center in Fairlawn, Ohio, near Akron. Mr. Smith is responsible for answering technical questions about Kumho tires, as well as providing information to help dealers answer customers' questions and sharing information to racers who use Kumho tires, the company said.
Prior to joining Kumho, Mr. Smith handled Matco Tools' Web site and technical support for that company's dealers. He also worked for Tallmadge, Ohio-based Summit Racing Equipment for eight years, handling service, sales, technical support and e-commerce.
TMC floats new regrooving rules
WASHINGTON-The Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations is proposing the adoption of new recommended practices for tire regrooving and the use of tire bead lubricants.
The proposals will be voted on at the TMC's summer meeting June 9-12 in Phoenix.
The new recommended practice for tire regrooving-RP 2003C-contains a new, seven-step section on regrooving procedures along with some minor wording changes from the existing one, which last was revised in 1998. It originally was issued in 1992.
RP 205B for tire bead lubricants contains new sections on the recommended use of lubricants and guidelines as to the quantity to be used.
The RPs can be viewed on the TMC's Web site at www.truckline.com.
Monro reports higher sales, profits
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-Monro Muffler Brake Inc. reported record sales and higher net income for the fiscal year ended March 29 due in part to strong comparable store sales as well as the integration of two tire store acquisitions in 2002 and 2003.
Sales for the chain, which provides automotive undercar repair and tire services, grew 14.8 percent for the year to $258 million. Net income rose 21.4 percent to $13.6 million. Fourth quarter sales improved 21.5 percent to a record $61.4 million, driven by a 7.3-percent increase in comparable store sales, Monro said. President and CEO Robert Gross said Monro saw an increase in consumer awareness because of better marketing and expanded products and services.
He added the challenging economic and industry environment has provided Monro ``with attractively priced opportunities to acquire companies with solid reputations that would strengthen our geographic presence and/or diversify our product mix.''
During fiscal 2002, Monro acquired 34 Kimmel Automotive and 10 Frasier Tire stores. Monro operates 561 stores and 18 dealer locations in 17 East Coast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states.
Michelin joins electric group
GREENVILLE, S.C.-Michelin North America Inc. has joined the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), which promotes the use of electric drive technologies through policy, marketing and public education initiatives.
Among its efforts in this segment, Michelin organizes the Challenge Bibendum each year. The global event, designed for advanced-technology vehicles, tests the best available technologies for environmentally positive cars, the EDTA said. This year's event will be held Sept. 23-25 at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
``Many of EDTA's members are longtime Michelin associates,'' said Don Baldwin, director of technical marketing for Michelin. ``We are delighted to join with this organization to help further our mutual goals of providing sustainable transportation options to the market.''
NHTSA overdue on Steeltex ruling
WASHINGTON-The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration missed its May 27 target date for ruling on whether to reopen a safety-defect investigation of the Firestone Steeltex light truck tire line.
The agency, which often misses its announced deadlines, has been reviewing evidence on the tires submitted to it by a California plaintiffs' attorney to determine whether the evidence is new and/or sufficient enough to warrant reopening a probe into the tires.
NHTSA representatives met May 7 with Joseph L. Lisoni-who is leading a class-action lawsuit against Bridgestone/Firestone to have some 30 million Steeltex R4S, R4SII and A/T tires recalled-and others, including consumer safety advocates Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, and Clarence M. Ditlow III, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lisoni officially has filed with the California Superior Court of Riverside County for certification of a nationwide class action to force the tire maker to recall the tires. BFS petitioned the court shortly before to have the complaint dismissed, claiming the class action has no standing under any relevant legal doctrine.
``Steeltex tires are safe, and the data on them are very good in the field,'' a BFS spokesman said.
Originally, NHTSA closed a 19-month defect investigation of Steeltex tires in April 2002 after not finding any defect trend.
Bridgestone wins Airbus contract
TOKYO-Bridgestone Corp. has won its first-ever contract to supply aircraft manufacturer Airbus S.A.S. with original equipment tires.
Under the contract, Bridgestone will supply tires for the Airbus A380, a 555-passenger, four-engine jumbo airliner, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2005 for commercial introduction in early 2006.
The main landing gear and nose wheel tires will be supplied from Bridgestone's aircraft tire plant in Kurume, Japan.
Fleet reaches supplier pacts
CHICAGO-Fleet shipper USF Corp. has struck two-year supply agreements with Michelin North America Inc. and Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. for original equipment and replacement tires and with Bandag Inc. for retreaded tires for its fleet of 10,000 power units and 20,000 trailers.
These are three of a series of centralized purchasing contracts USF has signed this year to leverage its nearly $500 million annual spending on goods and services across its various operating companies. Chicago-based USF-previously USFreightways Corp.-provides a full range of supply chain management services through a network of independently operated companies that compete collectively.
USF expects to save millions of dollars through this initiative, although it said pricing is only one element of the partnerships. The company said it also is working with each of its vendors to maximize efficiency at each step of the supply chain.
USF covers North America with five regional less-than-truckload trucking companies-USF Bestway, USF Dugan, USF Holland, USF Red Star and USF Reddaway.
Denver firm buys BFS warehouse
DENVER-A Denver-based capital investment firm has purchased a 750,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Lebanon, Tenn., already leased to Bridgestone/Firestone.
Dividend Capital Trust bought the newly built structure May 29 from Panattoni Development Co., which had overseen design and construction of the warehouse.
Bridgestone/Firestone earlier said it would consolidate distribution from two smaller warehouses, in Memphis, Tenn., and Lawrenceville, Ga., at the Lebanon facility.
TB award nearing July 31 deadline
AKRON-The deadline to nominate a deserving tire dealer or retreader for the 2003 Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award is a little more than a month away.
July 31 is the deadline for submitting nominations for the Tire Business-sponsored award, which annually recognizes an independent tire dealer or retreader who has made a difference in his or her community through charitable and/or civic work.
This year's recipient will receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice and will be honored at the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo show, Nov. 4-7, in Las Vegas.
To submit a nomination, call Tire Business at (330) 865-6148.