Progress has been made on Canadian pricing issue, says association

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Tremendous progress has been made in rectifying the gap between what Canadian tire dealers pay for tires and what their American counterparts pay, says Eric Gilbert, president of the Tire Dealers Association of Canada (TDAC).

Late last year, reported that Canadian dealers were paying more for tires than American dealers, due in part to the strength of the Canadian dollar. At the time, Gilbert said the difference had risen to between 18% and 20%.

Since then, tire manufacturers have worked to bring pricing back in line, according to Gilbert.

"Just about every tire company addressed it in different ways. A number of companies introduced rebate systems... to bring dealers in parity with U.S. pricing. Other companies adjusted their list prices."

One tiremaker Gilbert declined to name "extended programs that were on for the fall (of 2007) through November and December 2007."

Gilbert also was impressed by the manner in which independent tire dealers across the country banded together. "It's very difficult to get independent tire dealers in different regions to work together. Canada is a large country; the western provices have different issues" than the central and eastern provinces. "But this issue brought a lot of people together."

He adds that TDAC will remain vigilant in monitoring pricing as 2008 proceeds. "We need to keep the issue front and center. It will be interesting to see (what happens) with price adjustments at the end of the second quarter."

As of yesterday, March 11, the Canadian dollar was worth $1.0067 American dollars.

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