AKRON (May 10, 2016) — What is it about tires that make many auto-service-related chains want to get more heavily involved in tire sales and service?
Two well-known franchisors that started out in the muffler business — Meineke Car Care Centers L.L.C. and TBC Corp.'s Midas Total Car Care auto repair centers — are trying to shake up the industry with moves in that direction.
Meineke just signed a procurement agreement with Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack's wholesale business unit as an additional source of tires for its 900-plus locations in the U.S.
The new relationship with Pep Express Parts and its TreadSmart “good-better-best” program provides Meineke franchisees with negotiated national account pricing and rebates earned monthly on a minimum of $1,000 in qualified purchases.
The Pep Express program offers a dozen brands including its own private lines of Definity, Futura and Cornell, plus Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s Starfire brand.
Midas' move into tires is even more aggressive. TBC is looking to turn the originally muffler-focused Midas operation into a full tire and service chain over the next two years.
“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,” said Mike Gould, who oversees the Midas franchise program for TBC.
The Midas initiative is different from Meineke's and other auto service chains' moves to add tires to their product mix. TBC is looking to turn Midas into a full-service tire powerhouse with 1,300 locations in the U.S. and Canada, not just adding tires to the sales mix.
The evolution of Midas into a tire and service chain makes good sense for TBC, one of North America's largest tire wholesalers and tire retailers. The additional tire sales will enhance the company's wholesale business by providing greater tire sales and, at the same time, give it more economic clout with tire suppliers.
For Meineke, the growth of tire sales, besides bringing in more revenue, will give its customers additional reasons for returning to the chain's locations more often — opening up additional auto service opportunities.
In tandem, the moves by Mein¬eke and Midas — and to a degree Monro Muffler Inc.'s strategy with the Car-X Tire & Auto franchise business — raise the competitive bar in the North American retail tire market. They represent nearly 2,350 locations that are now more aggressively going after replacement tire sales in an environment that has remained rela¬tively flat in recent years.
It wouldn't be a big surprise to see other auto service chains ramp up their tire sales, as well. It makes good business sense.
This editorial appears in the May 9 print edition of Tire Business. Have an opinion on it? Send your comments, or a letter to the editor, to [email protected]. Please be sure to include your name, title, official business name, city and state in which it's located, and a daytime phone number and email address where you can be reached for verification purposes.