The divorce between American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is now out in the open. First, ATD sent out emails to its customers informing them of the split, which occurred after Goodyear and Bridgestone Americas Inc. announced it was forming an independent wholesale distribution network, TireHub.
Now it's Goodyear's turn. In a communiqué with its dealers, Goodyear not only addressed its break-up with ATD, but also promoted its new joint venture with Bridgestone.
"We have informed ATD that they will no longer be Goodyear's authorized national distributor in the U.S. once TireHub begins operating, which we expect to happen mid-year," said the letter, sent by Andy Traicoff, vice president of consumer sales and customer development, and Doug Whittington, director of commercial tire sales.
"TireHub will be Goodyear's sole authorized national distributor, complemented by our existing network of aligned regional wholesale distributors.
"In the interim, we are committed to working with ATD to ensure Goodyear customers do not experience any disruption in service. It is our expectation that to the extent you currently receive Goodyear products from ATD, you will continue to receive the Goodyear tires you need from ATD. We have also engaged our existing aligned regional wholesale distributors to ensure you have an alternate supply point if it becomes necessary during the transition."
In conclusion, Goodyear summed up its distribution strategy succinctly: "The goal of our aligned distribution strategy continues to be providing you with the best access to the Goodyear products, programs and services your customers want. We believe the combination of TireHub and our network of aligned regional wholesale distributors accomplishes this goal."
When asked if Bridgestone would end its relationship with any of the wholesalers that sell its brands, TJ Higgins, president of the integrated consumer tire group in North America for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, had this to say:
"Bridgestone will continue to go to market through an integrated distribution system that includes selling direct to customers as well as selling to a number of wholesale distributors. Following regulatory approval, TireHub will become one of Bridgestone’s wholesale distribution partners. TireHub is designed to complement Bridgestone’s existing network of distributors."
For more information on the joint venture and its effects on the tire industry landscape, check out these links: