HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — It will be "business as usual" for American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) in the wake of Goodyear's proposed $2.5 billion acquisition of the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., according to ATD President and CEO Stuart Schuette.
In a statement to Tire Business, Mr. Schuette said other "strategic scenarios" could emerge — including "other opportunities" for the Huntersville-based distributor — as Goodyear and Cooper move toward closing the deal in the second half of 2021.
ATD, the largest independent tire wholesaler in North America, distributes tires manufactured by Cooper, among others.
ATD previously distributed Goodyear- and Bridgestone-branded tires, but those relationships were severed in mid-2018, just after Goodyear and Bridgestone opened TireHub L.L.C., a 50/50 joint wholesale venture headquartered in Atlanta.
At this point it's unclear whether Goodyear would designate TireHub to distribute Cooper-branded product or maintain the status quo.
Mr. Schuette said it will continue to work with Cooper and "all partners in 2021 — delivering product to our customers as we always have along with the broadest assortment of tires, wheels and shop supplies in the industry.
"We remain focused on growing our business and rolling out new tools and capabilities to help our customers, partners and our people be more successful," Mr. Schuette said.
ATD has "deep relationships with Cooper that span the last 60 plus years and it's business as usual for us," according to Mr. Schuette.
The pending acquisition, bringing together Akron-based Goodyear, No. 3 in globally with fiscal 2019 tire sales of $13.7 billion, with Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper, No. 13 globally with sales of $2.7 billion, was announced Feb. 22.
The combined company expects to generate $17.5 billion in sales, narrowing the gap between Goodyear and the world's top two tire makers, No. 1 Group Michelin ($25 billion) and No. 2 Bridgestone Corp. ($24 billion plus).
In North America, Goodyear (No. 3) and Cooper (No. 5) combined represent over $7.1 billion in tire-related sales, behind No. 1 Michelin ($8.25 billion) and Bridgestone ($7.85 billion), according to Tire Business calculations.
More than 80% of Cooper sales occur in North America, by far the greatest percentage of any major international tire company. By comparison, North America represents about 45% of Goodyear's global revenue.
"As our industry rapidly transforms, ATD continues to find new, innovative ways to serve its customers and partners and is committed to creating best-in-class partnerships that evolve the replacement tire industry today and into the future," Mr. Schuette said.
In November of last year, ATD announced it was partnering with On Demand Technologies Inc. to expand its ATD Express expedited tire delivery program nationally through the logistics provider's OneRail "delivery orchestration" platform.
The program was tested in 19 of the 115 markets ATD serves, according to Dennis Hatchett, senior vice president of Supply Chain Operations at ATD.
OneRail's cloud-based platform simplifies same-day and on-demand delivery execution by connecting in real time the demand signal (point-of-sale, e-commerce, ERP) with a system of delivery networks and internal fleets, according to Orlando, Fla.-based On Demand Technologies.
ATD Express is one of several tools ATD has recently unveiled. Others include an app, called ATDMobile, and TireSeller, ATD's e-commerce solution shop to support dealers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ATD also is investing in a micro-learning and communication platform, called Spark, a site designed not only to help educate ATD's sales team, measuring their progress and learning ability, but also serves as a training platform for tire dealers, who then can educate their teams at their own retail stores.