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Car dealerships gain market share -- again

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There were 5 million more passenger tires sold in the U.S. last year compared to 2013, and car dealerships accounted for 400,000 of those units. Their 8% share of the market is the highest it has ever been -- and it is growing.

A highlight of the 49th annual Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue is its comprehensive look at distribution channels. This year, car dealerships (8%) and warehouse clubs (9%) gained market share at the expense of mass merchanders (13%). That is not surprising, given the slowing growth at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the downward financial spiral Sears Holdings Corp. experienced in 2014.

The independent tire dealer channel accounted for more than 60% of the consumer tire sales at the retail level. It remains the number one distribution channel by far.

Tire company-owned stores have only increased their market share one percentage point since 1999, and have been flat the last couple of years. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has been slowly decreasing its number of stores, and Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC has kept steady at 2,200 outlets.

That may change soon. In a recent Nashville Business Journal article, Bridgestone President Stu Crum was quoted as saying he hopes to increase the number of stores to 3,000 by 2020.

The 2015 Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue does more than just break down both the retail and the wholesale tire distribution channels. It also takes a comprehensive, accurate look at the domestic tire market only days after the year has concluded. Who else does that?

See our January 2015 digital version here.

See our Facts Section here.

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