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It is obvious that "getting closer to the consumer" is the current trend in the tire industry. Michelin buys TCI; Ford Motor is putting teeth into the retail tire business, both in the U.S. and Europe; Goodyear, after years of contracting its company-owned outlets, is beginning a new round of expansion; and, finally, the Internet will certainly increase direct sales of tires from manufacturers to end users. As I see it, the role of the wholesaler/distributor is looking more vulnerable every day.
A number of independent tire dealers were surveyed concerning current business trends. Except for tire prices and costs, the results of the July 1999 …