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December 18, 2014

I was wrong: Lower gas prices = more business

Evidently when you pass middle age, the law of diminishing skills sets in. Never was that more evident than in my blog on Monday (Dec. 15).

Tags: Energy Information Administration, Gas prices, Nick Mitchell, Northcoast Research

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, December 18, 2014 7:23 AM | » Comments(0)

December 15, 2014

What lower gas prices will mean for your business

Last year, the average retail gasoline price per gallon in the United States -- all grades, all formulations -- was $3.57. That was the third highest total since the U.S. Energy Information Administration started following gas prices.

Tags: Energy Information Administration, Gas prices

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Monday, December 15, 2014 8:29 AM | » Comments(1)

December 10, 2014

One way to earn a customer's loyalty for (almost) life

To Larry Morgan, it was always personal
This Olson Tire Total Car Care coupon was reusable because it never expired.

With my mom moved to an assisted living facility in Sarasota, Fla., earlier this year, I recently visited her condo in Largo, Fla., and took the time to look through some of her papers.

Tags: Car dealerships, Larry Morgan, MTD Tire Dealer of the Year, Olson Tire, Tires Plus

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2014 5:08 PM | » Comments(1)

November 27, 2014

Modern Tire Dealer compares Black Friday tire deals!

Modern Tire Dealer compares Black Friday tire deals!

The automotive aftermarket is not immune from the sales juggernaut that is called Black Friday. The nationwide chains already have been advertising their willingness to take advantage of what many retailers believe is one of the most, if not the most, important day of their year.

Tags: Black Friday, Discount Tire, Lopez Tires, Mass merchandisers, Pep Boys, Wal-Mart Stores

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, November 27, 2014 11:44 AM | » Comments(0)

November 24, 2014

Counterfeit tires find their way into a Consumer Reports test

Counterfeit tires find their way into a Consumer Reports test

Consumer Reports recently tested Chinese consumer tires for the first time. The experience was enlightening, to say the least.

Tags: Barry Littrell, Chinese imports, Consumer Reports, Gene Petersen, Tire testing

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 6:15 AM | » Comments(0)

November 20, 2014

Rate these Sears oil change offers: good, bad or misleading?

Sears is partnering with NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon to sell oil changes.

Sears Auto Centers is offering "exclusive" deals on two of its high-end oil change options. And it is leveraging its partnerships with Ashland Inc. and NASCAR to do it.

Tags: Car dealerships, Mass merchandisers, NASCAR, Oil changes, Sears Auto Centers

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, November 20, 2014 8:30 AM | » Comments(8)

November 13, 2014

SEMA Show aftermath: Who was there and who wasn't (and who wasn't allowed)

Many -- not all -- of the largest tire manufacturers in the world had large booths at the Global

Every year, the SEMA Show, Global Tire Expo (GTE) and AAPEX draw thousands of people to Las Vegas. The list of attendees is always a veritable Who's Who of the tire industry.

Tags: 2014 Global Tire Expo, 2014 SEMA Show, ATD, Discount Tire, Dunlap & Kyle, Max Finkelstein, Monro Muffler Brake, Plaza Tire, Purcell Tire, Sullivan Tire, TBC Corp., Tire Discounters, Tire Wholesalers, VIP Parts

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, November 13, 2014 7:25 AM | » Comments(4)

October 26, 2014

Intense competition: Monro's growth curve is scary

John Van Heel, CEO and president of Monro Muffler Brake Inc., recently made the most cryptic statement many of you will read over the Halloween season.

Tags: John Van Heel, Monro financials, Monro Muffle Brake, Wood & Fullerton

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Sunday, October 26, 2014 9:01 AM | » Comments(0)

October 21, 2014

It seems the U.S. government wants to unfairly punish Double Coin

Double Coin Holdings Ltd. and, by association, China Manufacturers Association LLC, are being punished for a crime they didn't commit.

Tags: Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, OTR tires, Tire pricing, tire tariffs

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2014 12:04 PM | » Comments(2)

October 13, 2014

Hankook makes sure America's efforts during the Korean War are not forgotten

Seung Hwa Suh (second from the right) talks with Korean War veterans James Scarlett (left) and

The moment was brief yet poignant. Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., was finishing up his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for Hankook's tire plant in Clarksville, Tenn.

Tags: Korean War, Seung Hwa Suh, Tire plants

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 9:11 AM | » Comments(4)

October 6, 2014

Why you should ask yourself if being open on Sunday is an option

Advance Auto Parts will replace your battery between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday (at least in Akron,

The battery on my wife's 2001 Firebird died over the weekend. She discovered it after work, and was lucky to get a jump so she could get it home.

Tags: company-owned stores, Mass merchandisers, Parts stores, Under hood service

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Monday, October 6, 2014 8:57 AM | » Comments(16)

September 23, 2014

CR implies too many Chinese tires lack quality

Consumer Reports recently included Chinese tire brands in one of its tire testing projects. This was a first for the magazine.

Tags: Chinese imports, Consumer Reports, Gene Petersen

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 23, 2014 11:08 AM | » Comments(10)

September 15, 2014

Think you can avoid a tariff? Timing is against you

If you want an additional tariff imposed on consumer tires imported from China -- and there are a lot of you in the tire industry who do -- then time is probably of the essence.

Tags: Department of Commerce, ITC, Nick Mitchell, Northcoast Research, tire tariffs, Trailer tires, USW

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 9:06 AM | » Comments(1)

August 21, 2014

Are tire subsidies from the Chinese government the root of all evil?

By now, everyone who reads my blog, or my editorial in Modern Tire Dealer, knows that I am against additional tariffs on consumer tire imports from China.

Tags: Chinese imports, Department of Commerce, ITC, tire tariffs

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:48 AM | » Comments(8)

August 14, 2014

How to increase profits -- or efficiency -- when business is slow

These 4 steps will keep you employees busy

Let’s say for some reason business is slow. Maybe all your bays are empty because it is raining hard, or the stars are aligned against you that day or week. Or there is no snow in January.

Tags: Training

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, August 14, 2014 6:29 AM | » Comments(3)

August 7, 2014

Tire manufacturers will like the new tariff in town

Will there or won't there be an additional tariff placed on consumer tire imports from China in 2015? Realistically, we won't know the answer to that until December.

Tags: Barry Steinberg, Direct Tire, Private brand tires, tire tariffs

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, August 7, 2014 7:58 AM | » Comments(7)

July 31, 2014

Tariff update: Can you afford to raise tire prices by 88% just to break even?

The process of determining whether or not tariffs should be levied on consumer tire imports from China is well underway, and early reports out of Washington D.C. are not promising -- if you are against the tariffs.

Tags: Chinese imports, DOC, ITC, President Obama, Tire pricing, tire tariffs, USW

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:58 AM | » Comments(6)

July 21, 2014

Flashback: the day Kenda ruled the world

No specific tire line is mentioned on the iamyokohama.com website (although a  tire search  function

On July 20, 2003, Kenda may have been the most recognizable tire brand in the world. That was the day professional golfer Ben Curtis won what we in the United States often call the British Open.

Tags: Sports marketing

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Monday, July 21, 2014 6:56 AM | » Comments(0)

July 16, 2014

I know where the next Goodyear plant will be built

Goodyear s Rich Kramer said growing demand in North America and Latin America makes a new consumer

A Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. spokesperson recently told me that the company had not yet chosen a site for its new $500 million consumer tire plant. I believe that is true.

Tags: Jamie Szulc, Plants, Rich Kramer

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:36 PM | » Comments(5)

July 10, 2014

The 'usual suspect' is the No. 1 tire, says Consumer Reports

Michelin is ranked more often than any other brand

In its April issue, Consumer Reports ran a summary of its latest -- not new -- tire tests. They encompassed seven different categories that don't normally overlap.

Tags: Consumer Reports, Continental PureContact, Cooper Discoverer, Goodyear Assurance, Goodyear Eagle, Hankook Dynapro, Michelin Pilot, Michelin Primacy, Pirelli P Zero, UHP tires, Yokohama Advan

Author: Bob Ulrich | Posted @ Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:17 AM | » Comments(3)

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