Tire America Lives Again! Well, at Least Online

Bob Ulrich
Posted on July 5, 2018
The tireamerica.com tagline is "Your tires. Your way."
The tireamerica.com tagline is "Your tires. Your way."

Tire America is retailing tires again, thanks to TBC Corp. And like its former incarnation, it offers more brands than the norm.

First, some background. Tire America became a leading and progressive multi-regional tire retailer in the 1980s under founder Robert Ewing. It was one of the first retailers to market many brands, which included those marketed by Private Brands Ltd., itself a subsidiary of Tire America.

As you might expect, it was able to offer so many brands by keeping an average inventory of 4,000 tires at each store.

Tire America changed tire retailing in other ways, as well. It was one of the first large retailers with a low cost, high volume strategy, yet it tended to cater to upscale consumers and women, with nice showrooms. It brought a sort of professionalism to our industry. Tire America also advertised and promoted its tires heavily.

His innovative practices were the reason Ewing was elected to the Tire Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

The fall of Tire America started in 1987, when Ewing sold the company's 60 stores, located in the mid-western and mid-Atlantic United States, to Western Auto Supply Co. Although Western Auto adopted a number of Tire America's merchanding and marketing techniques, it wasn't enough to save the company, which sold out to Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1988.

Interestingly, prior to its sale to Sears, Western Auto purchased NTW Inc. and its 52 National Tire Warehouse outlets. (Some of you may remember those "fun" pricing battles between Tire America and NTW.)

Under Sears, the number of outlets grew. In 1997, Sears transformed the 275 Tire America and NTW stores into the NTB (National Tire & Battery) chain, and Tire America was no more. In 2003, TBC Corp. acquired all the NTB locations.

That brings us to the present. TBC quiently opened a new operating company under an old name, Tire America, earlier this year. The online company retails tires through tireamerica.com. TBC supports tireamerica.com with millions of tires in stock; some 1,413 affiliated installers help with installation.

The average independent tire dealer sells between 13 and 15 tire brands. The new Tire America offers 24 brands: BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper, Cordovan, Custom 428, Dunlop, Epic, Firestone, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Kumho, Michelin, Mud Claw, Nexen, Nitto, Ohtsu, Performer, Pirelli, Sumitomo, Uniroyal, Velozza and Yokohama.

And so Tire America lives again. And, coincidentally, so does NTW, also in a different format.

When Michelin North America Inc. bought 50% of TBC Corp. from Sumitomo Corporation of Americas last February, the result was the second largest tire wholesaler in the U.S.

What did the partners call the new entity? National Tire Wholesale, or NTW.

Related Topics: Inventory management, light truck tires, NTW, passenger tires, private brand tires, Sears, TBC, Tire America

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 4 )
  • See all comments
  • BENJAMIN MASOYAN

     | about 9 months ago

    I have honestly never read such overwhelmingly good content like this. I agree with your points and your ideas. This info is really great. Thanks. Visit us: https://itiresonline.com/

More Stories
News

Bauer Built Awards Six Scholarships

For the past 25 years Bauer Built Inc. has honored its past and present with the presentation of scholarships to high school seniors. The gifts are named in honor of the tire dealer's founders, G.F. "Sam" and Ethel V. Bauer, and they're given to the children and grandchildren of Bauer Built employees.

Monro plans to consolidate its nine retail brands into five "regional power brands." The company hasn't yet disclosed which brands would be eliminated.
News

Monro Will Consolidate Retail Brands

As Monro Inc. continues to refresh the look of its 1,000-plus stores, the company also plans to streamline its retail operations and focus on five “regional power brands,” rather than the nine different nameplates it operates currently.  

News

Monro Sees Improvement in 'Transformative Year'

A shorter selling period and drop in tire sales may have sullied the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 for Monro Inc., but the company still recorded a 6.4% increase in sales for the full year — and crossed the $1.2 billion threshold.

Bridgestone backs the A/T2 with a 55,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.
Blog

More Firestone Destination News -- With Photos!

"If it's a sneak peek of the two new Firestone Destination tires, why don't you have pictures of them?" That's what Joy Kopcha, Modern Tire Dealer's senior editor, said to me when I wrote last week's blog.

News

Amazon Has Access to More Than Half of Monro's Stores

Amazon has added more than 400 Monro Inc. locations in nine states to its brick and mortar tire installation network.That more than doubles the number of service locations involved in the collaboration between Amazon and Monro.

News

Auto Care Association Leader Educates Consumers on Vehicle Data

The New York Times is conducting an ongoing examination of privacy and data, and Bill Hanvey, CEO and president of the Auto Care Association, wrote about the data collected by a modern vehicle. It's about much more than the frequency of oil changes. "Your car knows when you gain weight."

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!