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May 12, 2014

ATD's reputation: Bad karma or bad rap?

As it gets bigger, American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) is always in the crosshairs. Why is that? Isn't big always better?

Not in the eyes of the smaller independent tire retailers. However, it's fuzzy why that is.

ATD recently purchased Terry's Tire Town Holdings Inc., and that was a topic of conversation among many dealers attending recent meetings in New York and New Jersey, respectively. The issue of ATD's expansion even made its way into the question-and-answer sessions held between the dealers and two industry pundits.

Modern Tire Dealer Editor Bob Ulrich was one of those pundits (perhaps sacrificial lamb is a better term). He shares his thoughts on the topic in his latest blog, "As ATD gets bigger, the haters grow in number."

What are your thoughts on ATD? Or wholesale distribution in general? Read the blog, then let us know what you think by leaving a comment!

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  1. don | May 12, 2014 at 09:19AM
    This is pretty much the world we live in.

    1) stay small enough to survive in your little niche market.

    2) grow to be able to compete with the big boys.

    3) die.

  2. Rich | May 12, 2014 at 09:29AM
    I think that consolidation is what we see in all phases of business. When ATD first moved into our area we were a little cautious. Today I feel the service we receive is as good as our previous distributor and the selection of merchandise much better. Consolidation is here , live with it. You may find you are better off.

  3. John | May 12, 2014 at 09:46AM
    My father, who founded our company in 1955, had a saying, "Don't worry about the mule going blind, just get the crap on the wagon." I believe it's too early to tell if the growth of ATD is good or bad for retailers but in either case, it's the way it is. Unless any of us want to get out of the business as a result of this we may as well keep on selling tires and see how it shakes out. Just my thoughts....

  4. Rick | May 12, 2014 at 11:57AM
    Good selection of brands & good stock levels makes re-stocking easier. Competetive pricing and 5 day a week delivery don't hurt. Also, by buying 75%, or more, from 1 source we've developed a strong business relationship with ATD.

  5. Rick | May 12, 2014 at 12:11PM
    Monopolies are always bad for everyone,(except for the 'monopoly holder'). That's a pretty simple 'fact'. In the longer run... monopolies do NOT create more or better competition.. quite the contrary! Monopolies are designed to impede, reduce and eliminate healthy competition. Monopolies seldom happen by accident, they are deliberate 'planned policy decisions' made by an organization and always have the same purpose in mind.. to eventually control the market-place in order to maximize the monopoly holder's own profits. This is basic 'business history 101'. The monopoly holder wins.. the manufactures, the competitor distributors, the retailers, and the end-users public, all lose.

  6. Robert | May 12, 2014 at 02:37PM
    Couldn't agree more with Ricks statement! Just like in the seventies when gas companies forced out the independents now look at our current gas prices and the ridiculous price fluctuations for no real reason other than what they try to make us believe. Bigger is not better!

  7. Barry | May 12, 2014 at 04:13PM
    ATD can only carry so many brands, and offer only so much foot print for tire manufacturers before they begin looking for distributors who will offer them more focus and foot print in the market place. Tire manufacturers want distributors who will carry their whole program of tires and not just piece mill what they want as ATD does with so many lines. I look for a healthy surge in Independent tire distributors to become more competitive in the market place as other tire manufactures offer more competitive programs in the future.

  8. Terry | May 12, 2014 at 05:55PM
    Issues like charging you for fedex/ups shipping to return your rejected adjustments back to you for appeal ect...It's a constant battle with ATD for adjustment processing...they have in my case, invented exclusions like "a patch repair within a certain proximity to a tread separation voids your warranty"...I make sure I keep a healthy relationship with ATD's competitors in our area..just so I can spend my dollars where they are appreciated...There's more to being successful long term than being big.

  9. Toby | May 13, 2014 at 05:22PM
    It is not very pleasant to deal with ATD.

  10. Bo | May 19, 2014 at 08:45AM
    they do not care about the people who brought them to the dance, they still all your customers like car dealers they are deffinitly out for atd and no one else

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