Two developments on the same day last month are likely to intensify competition between franchised dealerships and aftermarket providers for replacement-tire sales, especially online.
Sears Auto Centers said May 9 that it will install and balance tires of any brand for customers who buy them on Amazon. Sears Auto operates more than 400 service centers nationwide.
Amazon also now sells Sears’ DieHard passenger tires. The online vendor already was selling DieHard-branded products including batteries, battery chargers and jump starters.
Under the Amazon-Sears collaboration, Amazon customers can select their tires, identify the preferred Sears Auto location for installation and schedule a date and time. Sears Auto will contact customers to confirm the appointment.
Meanwhile, Dealer Tire said it is making a “significant” but undisclosed investment in SimpleTire, an online retailer that operates a platform for independent tire distributors. Dealer Tire is the nation’s largest distributor of replacement tires to more than 10,000 franchised new-vehicle dealerships.
SimpleTire’s business links tire distributors across the country in an e-commerce network that includes more than 3,000 supply points. Dealer Tire manages tire and parts programs for more than 20 automakers and operates 39 U.S. distribution centers.
Franchised dealerships account for about 8.5 percent of replacement tire sales, trailing independent tire dealers, mass merchandisers and warehouse clubs.