With the official opening of two additional facilities in Texas yesterday, TCi Tire Centers is getting ready for an upswing in trucking activity and the commercial tire business.
“We now see the trucking industry rebounding after two difficult years,” Guy Pekle, president & CEO, told Fleet Owner. “We’re starting to see a rebounding of the business.”
Pekle, taking time out to speak during grand opening ceremonies for the two facilities in Houston and Harlingen, said TCi is positioning itself “to corner the area of I-35 and I-10.”
“There is a need for the right coverage,” he added.
The addition of the centers, which will employ 12, brings to 65 the total number of full-service facilities that sell new tires, retreads, preventive maintenance services, alignments, and emergency road service. Ten of those locations are in Texas.
TCi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Michelin North America with both a commercial tire division and a distribution division, which handles passenger and light truck tire retail sales. The company also operates 10 Michelin Retread Technologies plants.
As part of the aim to provide full service, Tire Centers offers everything from tire sales and service, to vehicle repairs such as alternators, batteries and brakes. In addition to selling Michelin tires, customers can also find a number of other brands including BF Goodrich, Continental, Hankook, Sumitomo, and General Tire.
“We have a need to meet the full needs of the customers at every price point,” said Nate Kirian, vice president-marketing and sales for TCi’s commercial division.
While business has been picking up for TCi, Pekle mentioned that the company outperformed the market in 2010, and 2011 is shaping up much the same as the company continues to focus its efforts on becoming more than just a specialist in tire service.
“We are very encouraged by what we see in the marketplace; very encouraged by the feedback we’ve received from fleets about the service Tire Centers provides them,” Pekle said. “Today, providing only the tire is not enough. We need to integrate and improve the quality of information [we provide customers].”
That includes a two-pronged approach. TCi offers the free Customer Information Center (CIC), which can run reports for fleets on a number of topics, including scrap tire rate comparisons and comparing scrap tire rates at different locations.
For fleets that want a more complete solution, the company is offering Track My Tread, an asset monitoring service. Launched in 2008, Kirian said the program has met with great success so far.
Track My Tread is a fee-based service that uses barcodes on tires to capture “unique information” on a particular tire. Using the system, TCi is able follow any tire from cradle to grave and tell the fleet exactly where the tire has been, what type of repairs have been performed, and how long it has been in service.
It’s all part of TCi’s commitment to service, which includes a 24/7 roadside emergency service that has a 98% response rate during nighttime hours, Kirian said. TCi is also part of Michelin’s Commercial Service Network, a franchise network of commercial tire dealers, and as such, meets all Michelin quality expectations.