Wounded shop manager dies
BENSALEM, Pa. - A tire store manager who authorities said was shot by a fellow employee following an argument died Jan. 10.
Joseph Phillips, 39, manager of the Firestone Tire & Service Center in Bensalem, was taken off life support Dec. 30, said Karen Diaz, chief deputy for the Bucks County district attorney. Mr. Phillips had been listed in critical condition since he was shot in the chest Dec. 12. An autopsy is pending.
With Mr. Phillips' death, Ms. Diaz said she will file first-degree murder charges against suspect Ken Kim, 30, who remains in jail on an $8 million bond on various charges, including attempted murder and eluding police. An additional arraignment will be held for the new charge, Ms. Diaz said, and she will request that bail be rescinded. Mr. Kim is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 29.
According to the district attorney's office, Mr. Phillips told Mr. Kim to go home after he drove a vehicle out of a work bay without securing the lug nuts properly. Mr. Kim reportedly walked out to his truck, started it, then walked back toward the bay area. Authorities said he walked up to Mr. Phillips and fired several rounds into his chest. Police apprehended Mr. Kim following a short chase after he fled the store.
Toyo to raise tire prices 4 percent
CYPRESS, Calif.-Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. will raise prices on most of its consumer and commercial products up to 4 percent, the Cypress-based tire maker said.
The price hike is effective March 1. Toyo did not provide a reason for the increase, but several other tire makers in recent months have announced price increases due to escalating raw materials costs.
Midas reduces debt, restructures
ITASCA, Ill.-Midas Inc. completed its restructuring moves, announcing a reduction in its term loan debt by $40.1 million, the automotive service chain said.
Since starting the restructuring in March 2003, Midas closed all 77 Parts Warehouse Inc. quick delivery parts distribution centers, reduced company-owned Midas shops from 111 to 73, completed parts distribution agreements with AutoZone Inc. and UniSelect and closed all but one of 12 regional distribution centers in North America. The term loan reduction exceeded the company's goal of $33 million. The company said its debt level remains at $92.4 million before debt discount and accrued but unpaid interest.
In late 2003, Itasca-based Midas and Bridgestone/Firestone reached a deal for the chain's 1,900 outlets in North America to be authorized dealers of the Bridgestone and Firestone brands.
SEMA releases show statistics
BOWIE, Md.-Among the 105,113 attendees at 2003's Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week trade shows in Las Vegas, 5,253 were tire and wheel dealers, according to the Tire Industry Association (TIA).
At the 2002 shows, 4,033 tire and wheel dealers attended, TIA said. In 2003, 1,325 tire and wheel wholesalers attended-up from 1,207 in 2002. The overall attendance figure for the 2003 event was a 21-percent increase from the previous year, officials said.
In 2003, 51,391 buyers and 32,576 exhibitors attended both the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo and the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo.
Conti outsourcing tire distribution
CHARLOTTE, N.C.-In a bid to focus on tire development and manufacturing and improve customer service, Continental Tire North America (CTNA) Inc. will outsource tire distribution logistics in North America to a British logistics service company.
The companies did not disclose the value of the contract, but Conti said it expects to save at least $10 million annually.
Conti said details of the arrangement with Exel P.L.C. will be finalized by April 1. As part of the strategic partnership, Exel will assume control of, among other things, the management of the tire maker's seven warehouses in the U.S. and Mexico.
Exel, a supply chain management company, manages more than 1,300 operating locations in more than 120 countries, according to the company's Web site. The company earns annual revenues of more than $6.5 billion. Exel focuses on companies in the automotive, chemical/industrial, consumer, healthcare, retail and technology industries.
Exel also has worked with Goodyear since 1996, currently managing logistics operations at 13 Goodyear warehouses in North America, and with Wal-Mart Inc., operating tire handling facilities in Georgia and Texas.