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MTD asks -- Are tire price increases sticking? (Part Four)

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In today's installment of our exclusive pricing survey, dealers say tire prices appear to be holding out West.

In Laramie, Wyo., population 30,000, Tony Theis says tire price increases handed to him starting at the end of last year through the first of April 2001 are sticking.

The manager of the six-bay A to Z tire outlet said his suppliers, Michelin Americas Small Tires (MAST) and Cooper Tire, raised tire prices across the board by some 4%. "Just as soon as we received notification, we passed those increases along to our customers," he says. "Better, our customers are OK with that."

At Tires Inc. in Chehalis, Wash., President C.A. "Buck" Hubbert says price increases on retail passenger and light truck tires have held, but they have not held on retail medium truck tires.

"We handle Goodyear (60%), Bridgestone (20%) and Yokohoma (20%), all of whom raised prices on retail passenger and light truck by 5%. Those increases were passed along to our customers and have held up very well."

But the story is different on medium truck. "Here we got a 3% to 5% increase from all of our suppliers, but we are still able to buy these tires at discount for less money than the new price. This part of the market is very soft and the price hikes did not hold up because there is a surplus of medium truck tires out there."

Hubbert, a $10 million a year dealer, services his customers in southwestern Washington from two truck centers and one retail outlet.

Frank Howell, owner of Howell Tire Center in Columbus, Texas, said his tire prices went up by 3% to 5% between October 2000 and February 2001. "We bumped up the prices of our Cooper and Michelin Americas Small Tires within 30 days of the time the price hikes were announced to us," he says.

Howell, who buys direct from Cooper and gets his MAST product from Home & Tire in Houston, does $450,000 yearly from his Colorado County four-bay outlet not far from busy I-10.

Tomorrow we'll wrap up our one-week spotlight on tire price increases.

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