GENEVA, Ill. (May 5, 2006) — Merlin's Franchising Inc. has changed the name of its franchised automotive service outlets to Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops to reflect the chain's effort to help drivers get the most life from their vehicles.
The name change, from Merlin Muffler & Brake, was effective May 1, the Geneva-based company said. Merlin's is a franchised chain of 70 stores in Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin.
“We believe our new name explains our commitment to long-term customer relationships yet it does not confine us to specific automotive technologies,” said Frank Smola, president of Merlin's Franchising Inc., in a prepared statement. “It quantifies what we are trying to do for our customers, which is to help them receive the full life of their automobile.”
About 75 percent of Merlin's stores sell tires, Mr. Smola told Tire Business. Brands offered vary by stores, but they include Continental, General, Cooper, Kumho, Capital and Uniroyal.
The company plans to make tire offerings mandatory at all of its franchises by 2007.
In late 2004 the company started a lifetime tire warranty program that provided tires for as long as a customer owned his or her vehicle as long as the driver performed prescribed maintenance. Mr. Smola said Merlin's still offers the warranty, and it has been successful in bringing referral business to the shops.
Mr. Smola said the tire warranty is part of the chain's overall push for helping motorists get the most life out of their cars though some customers are attracted by the warranty itself.