London - Major tire makers have stepped up their distribution activities in the recent months with key partnerships formed in North America and elsewhere.
Bridgestone Americas and Goodyear are also combining their respective US wholesale tire distribution assets into a 50/50 joint venture, called TireHub LLC, that will operate through 80-plus distribution centres nationwide.
TireHub will be based in Atlanta and managed by an independent management team led by CEO Peter Gibbons, a veteran business and supply chain executive.
TireHub said the two companies 16 April, will combine Goodyear’s company-owned wholesale distribution network with Bridgestone’s Tire Wholesale Warehouse subsidiary, the venture partners said.
The total estimated fair value of the joint venture is expected to be approximately $600 million (€485 million), according to a Goodyear 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“It’s critical for US tire dealers and retailers to be able to get the right tires on time to meet the needs and expectations of their customers,” said TJ Higgins, president, integrated consumer tire group, US and Canada, Bridgestone Americas.
Meanwhile, a previously-announced joint wholesale business venture involving Michelin North America Inc. and Sumitomo Corp. of Americas passed regulatory scrutiny on 25 April.
The new venture, called National Tire Wholesale (NTW), is set to become the second-largest player in the US wholesale tire market, the parties said earlier, combining Michelin's 85 TCi and TBC Corp.'s 59 Carroll Tire wholesale distribution locations. The business is expected to handle up to 15 million tires a year.
At the end of March, Groupe Michelin established a minority-owned joint venture with a French company active in car sales in Africa and Asia to handle the import and distribution of Michelin tires in Kenya and Uganda.
The new venture, 49% owned by Michelin, is with CFAO Automotive, a Paris-based company with 133 sales and service locations in 34 African countries, three French overseas territories in the Pacific and Vietnam and Cambodia.
“The growth prospects of the African continent are immense,” said Yves Chapot, a member of Michelin’s executive committee and director of automotive business lines and the Asia, Africa, India and Middle East regions.