Dec 31, 2013 BLOOMINGDALE, Ill

Bridgestone Retail Operations To Rebrand Expert Tire Locations

Sixty-three Expert Tire stores will convert to Firestone Complete Auto Care, two to Hibdon Tires Plus

Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO), the operator of more than 2,200 tire and automotive service centers across the U.S., today announced a strategic decision to rebrand 63 of its Expert Tire locations to Firestone Complete Auto Care stores and two Expert Tire locations to Hibdon Tires Plus stores.

“After a careful banner review process, we determined that converting our Expert Tire stores best aligns with our strategic direction and makes the most sense for our customer base. The stores will benefit from the brand equity inherent in the Firestone Complete Auto Care and Tires Plus names, as well as their marketing programs,” said Stu Crum, President, BSRO.

The Firestone Complete Auto Care brand received attention this past year following the launch of the “Drive a Firestone” brand campaign, which underscored the idea that even though Firestone does not make cars, it is a car company. No matter what type of car Firestone customers drive, the company’s tires and services provided by retailers can help keep them running newer, longer.

BSRO expects the conversion to be completed by Q2 2014. The products and services offered by all BSRO stores – Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus and Wheel Works – will remain the same during and following the transition. These changes will strengthen BSRO’s position in the marketplace and better enable the company to focus its investments in areas that can have the greatest impact on its business model.

After reviewing each of the 80 total Expert Tire locations for the rebranding initiative, BSRO senior management reached the decision to close 15 Expert Tire stores effective December 31, 2013. Many factors were taken into consideration, including sales volume and proximity to other Firestone Complete Auto Care and Tires Plus locations. The vast majority of the employees impacted by these closings will be reassigned to other locations. In those instances where the company is not able to place an employee in another location, severance benefits will be offered.