What began as a chance meeting at Autopromotec in 2008 has become a partnership between ITDG and point S.
Michael Cox, president and CEO of Independent Tire Dealers Group LLC (ITDG), and Fabien Bouquet, international operations director, point S Development, have entered into a seven-year master franchise contract. The agreement gives ITDG the trademark rights to use the point S brand name in the U.S. In addition, ITDG has entered into a contractual obligation to rebrand the outlets in its network within a pre-arranged timeframe.
According to Cox, both groups have similar concepts that will be mutually beneficial in the new arrangement.
“Point S wants to be involved in the largest automotive aftermarket in the world, which is North America,” said Cox. “They have some muscle so we decided that SEMA was a good time to make the announcement that we would be joining forces.”
Founded in 1994, ITDG represents 350 independent tire and auto service locations. Point S is the leading independent tire and auto service dealer network in Europe with 2,000 point-of-sale members in 21 countries. The point S trademark was established in France in 1971.
“Now, ITDG will be made up of 150 members at 350 locations in 27 states, plus the point S organization that is in 22 countries and has 2,000 points of sale and a 6% market share in Europe,” said Cox. “They also have a proprietary tire line right now that is made by Continental and we are looking at getting that DOT-approved to bring that product into the U.S. for ITDG’s proprietary line.”
Cox said that ITDG is also looking to add a low-cost radial (LCR) to the group’s portfolio. Point S wants to do the same in its countries. ITDG has talked to manufacturers in the past already about supplying an LCR.
“Now when we go to manufacturers to talk about supplying us with this LCR, the volume is multiplied a number of times over,” said Cox. “Being partnered with point S gives us some muscle.”
Point S also has its own proprietary batteries, filters and wiper blades, so Cox said there are many avenues to take to enhance the ITDG program. He added that point S is exploring becoming involved with some fleets that are global in scope, of which point S had no previous coverage for in the U.S.
Point S is also looking at expanding into Asia. In addition to the ITDG agreement, point S recently signed an agreement in Norway. The group initiated its Scandinavian presence two years ago in Finland.
As point S grows, Cox is excited about the opportunities it creates for ITDG.
“They continue to look to expand and it really helps us out as far as a global presence,” he said. “Our stature has grown from this relationship within the industry.”
Cox said ITDG members first learned about the relationship at ITDG’s annual meeting in April 2011. Several representatives from point S were introduced at the meeting, when 75% of ITDG’s members were in attendance. In addition, regional meetings held in September included a point S presentation.
The organizations made the partnership official at the Global Tire Expo on Nov. 1. The exposition was part of the 2011 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Even if we are living in two different continents, we clearly realized through our meetings and discussions over the past years that we are facing a lot of similar issues in the American and European markets with possible synergies to solve some of them,” said Bouquet. “The first step of our cooperation development has been achieved by granting ITDG the exclusive and legal representation of the point S retail concept for the United States. The rapprochement of ITDG and point S is forming the largest independent tire dealer network worldwide.”