NUEVO VALLARTA, Mexico (Feb. 7) — Tire Centers L.L.C. is planning to open as many as 20 distribution centers in 2007 and will test market a program aimed at helping its network of T3 independent dealers become specialists in the ultra-high performance tire sector.
"We´re probably another month or so from the first 10, and we´re in the process of evaluating the second 10, but we are looking to open 20 locations by the end of the year," TCI President Joe Finney said. "That will be a first."
Finney and Dave Snyder, vice president of TCI´s distribution division, discussed TCI´s future during the company´s annual T3 dealer meeting, Feb. 5-9 at the Grand Velas resort in Nuevo Vallarta.
Finney declined to elaborate on which markets TCI – a wholly owned subsidiary of Michelin North America Inc. — plans to target with its new centers, saying a final decision has not yet been made.
Snyder said TCI is working on a UHP tire program that would include specialized training for dealers in UHP sales and service, a Web site that would guide dealers in plus-sizing fitments and building up inventory at TCI´s distribution centers so that dealers can get the UHP sizes they need immediately.
The company plans to pilot the program in test markets by the end of the first quarter, he said.
If TCI is successful in achieving its goals, Snyder said the company then should be able to service 95 percent of the U.S. replacement market in five years and also by that time double its sales to $1 billion.