Why Amazon.com Will Have Problems Taking Over the Replacement Tire Market

Bob Ulrich
Posted on September 20, 2018

Amazon.com Inc. does not own a single retail tire outlet. But it suddenly finds itself with potential access to more than 1,500 of them.

Monro Inc. says it will eventually make its 1,174 tire dealerships and muffler shops in 27 states available to install tires purchased from Amazon.com. Sears Holdings Corp. also has partnered with Amazon.com to offer installation services at its Sears Auto Centers in the U.S. When the announced store closings are completed, there will be an estimated 356 Sears Auto Centers in all 50 states.

With the collaborations, Amazon has shown it is serious about selling tires. I’m not sure, however, how many more retail establishments in the U.S. it can partner with.

My understanding is that at the very least, the Big 4 – Michelin North America Inc., Bridgestone Americas Inc., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Continental Tire the Americas LLC – are not selling to Amazon. They also expect their dealers not to do so, either.

I know of a Tier 3 manufacturer who has refused to do so, and is watching its dealers closely to see if they break ranks. For now, installation-only services are acceptable.

As for Amazon, the big question is, where is it getting its tires? It sells Goodyear, Bridgestone and BFGoodrich, among other major brands. It also offers lesser tier tires. Sears admittedly sells its DieHard brand through Amazon.com, but other than that, no other manufacturer has officially partnered with Amazon.com.

Without the ability to buy Tier 1 tires directly from the manufacturers in order to take advantage of economies of scale, or indirectly through their independent dealer networks, it doesn't seem likely Amazon.com will ever rule the replacement tire market.

Related Topics: Amazon.com, DieHard, Monro, online tire sales, Sears Auto Centers

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 8 )
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  • Tom W

     | about 3 months ago

    We know Boarders thought that, I am sure grocery chains once thought that, and I am sure clothing retailers were thinking that, until the latest release of Amazon commercials. Their impact on traditional commerce, government contracts and local economies, is making Walmart's expansion look like a rain drop in a hurricane.

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