Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 12

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

C

RICHARD TRUETT
rtruett@crain.com

LEVELAND - Scott and Dean
Mueller built Dealer Tire into a billion-dollar colossus by selling replacement tires to new-vehicle
dealerships. Now the brothers are
ramping up their efforts to teach
dealers to be better tire retailers.
The stakes are high: Franchised
new-vehicle dealers, the Muellers
predict, can triple their share of
the U.S. replacement tire market
by 2032. To boost that share from
today's 8.5 percent to 25 percent, they say,
dealerships must do two things above all:
1. Treat tire sales as a business in itself, not
merely a loss leader to keep service customers
from defecting to aftermarket competitors.
2. Improve their service advisers' tire-selling
skills.
"If dealers are going to dominate their market in service, maintenance and light repairs,
tires have to be part of the equation," says
Dean Mueller, 58, Dealer Tire's founder and
president.
Adds Scott Mueller, 54, the CEO of the privately owned company: "You can [install] a
set of tires in under an hour, and if you are doing them right, you can also sell an alignment.
The profit is right up there with gravy warranty
work."
Dean and Scott Mueller granted Fixed Ops
Journal a rare joint interview at Dealer Tire's
headquarters in a newly renovated historic
building in midtown Cleveland. The Mueller
family's roots in tire sales go back nearly a
century.
The brothers formed Dealer Tire in 1999,
and since 2002 - when they sold the family's
retail tire business - have worked exclusively

TIRE
TITANS

Dealer Tire's Mueller brothers aim to help
dealers triple share of replacement tire sales

ing their competitors. General Motors and Ford
Motor Co. operate their own tire distribution
programs for their dealers. Companies such as
Community Tire, Tire Rack and local tire chains
also supply dealerships.

Low-key leaders
Both brothers come across as low-key and
informal; neither wore a tie to the interview.
When he's away from work, Dean Mueller
likes to spend time with his classic muscle
cars and Porsches.
Scott Mueller has an eye for art. A recent acquisition installed at Dealer Tire headquarters
is a sphere that resembles a rolled-up parking
lot, created by New York artist Lars Fisk.
Dealer Tire has tangible strategies to attract
and retain top employees. The headquarters
include such workplace amenities as an

with dealership service departments.
Dealer Tire supplies tires for 24 automakers
to 10,000 U.S. new-vehicle dealerships. It does
not sell tires through a consumer channel, or
to independent shops.
The company has several major initiatives
designed to help dealerships improve
their tire-selling retail skills, including a new program that embeds
Dealer Tire sales consultants with dealerships
(see related story, Page
16).
The Mueller brothers keep these stratScott Mueller, above left,
egies close to the
and his brother, Dean, run
vest, to avoid alertDealer Tire from a renovated
historic building in Cleveland.
A sculpture called "Lot Ball"
outside the headquarters
suggests a rolled-up
parking lot.

PHOTOS BY FRANCIS E. MILLER

PAGE 12

AUGUST 2017

see TIRES,
Page 14



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Contents
Need a lift
Tire track
Mobility devices
Times to recall
Slick trick
Fatal fire
Players club
Online parts
Lean inventory
Loyalty test
Patent pending
Open minded
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Richard Truett
Feedback
Five Minutes With
Letters
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 9
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Need a lift
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Tire track
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 14
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Mobility devices
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 22
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Times to recall
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Slick trick
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fatal fire
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Players club
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Online parts
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 35
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Lean inventory
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 37
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Loyalty test
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Patent pending
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 41
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Open minded
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover4
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