It's been a turbulent few months for American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) and its marketing group subsidiary, Tire Pros.
Less than a month after Tire Pros concluded a successful conference in San Antonio, it was announced that Goodyear and Bridgestone Americas Inc. were forming a joint venture, TireHub, that would infringe on what ATD had done for decades: Distribute tires.
It wasn't long afterward that Goodyear said it would end its relationship with ATD, choosing to distribute its tires exclusively through TireHub. Late last month, Bridgestone followed suit, notifying ATD that it was discontinuing distribution of passenger and light truck tires through ATD.
This prompted Moody's Investor Service to issue a dire forecast for ATD's future, questioning whether North America's largest tire distributor has sufficient cash reserves to cover certain projected interest payments and maintenance costs in the near future. Moody's said ATD must cut a significant amount of its cost, while replacing 40 percent of the revenue lost from the departures of Goodyear and Bridgestone, in order to cover projected annual interest payments and maintenance investments of $243 million.
ATD disputed that report in a one-paragraph statement, saying it "continues to generate substantial cash flows and as of May 31, 2018, had approximately $300 million of liquidity."
While all that turmoil is swirling around the ATD parent company, Tire Pros and its network of dealers forge ahead, doing what they do best: Service customers.
Tire Pros dealers received much-needed positive news last month: The marketing group has unveiled an ambitious marketing campaign that had been previewed at February's dealer conference. The campaign comes with an array of marketing assets and is based on two words: Hassle-free. Guaranteed.
The 725-plus Tire Pros locations across the U.S. now have a consistent, pithy phrase they can use repeatedly to reach customers, utilizing the best marketing tool for their region, be it print ads, television and/or radio spots, direct mail coupons, streaming video and/or website banners, among others.
The program was designed by dealers for dealers. Combined with other initiatives rolled out this year, including the Tire Pros playbook — a manual that offers direction and policies on how to operate a Tire Pros facility — it's business as usual for the Tire Pros family.
That doesn't mean just selling tires and auto service. That also means giving back to their community. Recently a Central Alabama Tire Pros group, working with a nonprofit organization, raised enough money through the sale of tires to finance an upcoming trip to Disney World for a 5-year-old girl, stricken with cancer, as well as her family.
And that's news everyone can be happy about.