PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.The Midas auto repair business identity is morphing again, this time decidedly in the direction of tires and related services, according to franchisor TBC Corp.
Founded in the 1950s as a muffler specialist shop, the Midas chain added brake service in the 1970s and broadened into a multi-service car-care provider in recent years to stay abreast of market developments.
Since being acquired by TBC in 2012, the Midas brand has been adding tires to the sales mix to the point where tires and related services represent as much revenue as exhaust service does, TBC said.
Chain-wide tire sales have grown 15 percent in the 36 months since TBC bought the franchise program. TBC did not say what percentage of the Midas network's overall sales comes from tires.
In 2011, the last full year that Midas was a publicly traded company, tires made up less than 10 percent of the stores' sales volume. The average U.S. franchised shop had sales of $672,000 that year, the company said then.
Bearing these changes in mind, TBC plans to accelerate the franchise chain's tire-service expansion significantly in 2016 and 2017, with upgrades in distribution, computer support, shop signage and more.
Over the next two years, we will dramatically reposition Midas as a source of tires, said Mike Gould, executive vice president and COO for Midas.
Our stores will look like tire locations, associates will be tire-service experts, and the Midas brand will become known as a destination for tires in the same way that we are known for brakes, repairs and exhaust.
TBC did not specify what, if any, financial support or relief it would provide franchisees to carry out equipment/system upgrades and/or adding signage to their stores.
In a prepared statement, Mr. Gould said: Upgrades in distribution, computer support, shop signage and more will all be supported by training efforts and recognized best practices as confirmed by findings from executed pilot programs.
In announcing the changes, TBC noted that up to half of the vehicles on U.S. roads have at least one tire with half-worn tread and another 10 percent have at least one bald tire, according to government statistics.
To promote tire sales this fall, U.S. Midas franchisees are offering customers up to $160 in mail-in rebates on four select Goodyear or Cooper Tires. In Canada, customers can receive up to $140 back on four Goodyear, Dunlop or Bridgestone Blizzak tires.
To support the promos, Midas is airing tire-focused national TV advertising featuring the Midas Golden Hand, the brand's irrepressible on-screen spokesperson.
Midas stores carry a wide range of tire brands, including BFG, Continental, Cooper, Dunlop, Goodyear, Kelly, Michelin, Nitto, Sumitomo and Uniroyal.
In Canada, the brand coverage includes Bridgestone, Cooper, Dunlop, Firestone, Goodyear and Kelly.
There are more than 2,100 franchised, licensed and company-owned Midas shops in 14 countries, TBC said, including nearly 1,300 in the U.S. and Canada.
TBC recently disclosed it was gearing up a search for more Midas franchisees in Quebec, where there are 18 locations run by 15 franchisees, all in the Montreal metro area. There are 156 franchised Midas locations across Canadapredominantly in Ontario.