Terry Bond

Coker Tire - FYI

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I still say, and perhaps this is the time : They should make 2 lines of tires from the molds. One a "show tire" for the T.Q.s, which don't get driven, and also an expensive, very high quality "go tire" for the guys who put the miles on 'em. I would go "go".  -  Carl 

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Prices may go up...and quality may go down! That's the problem with having only 1 company doing a special service. Many times, after a public sale, these companies go belly up. Let's hope, for the sake of the hobby, it doesn't happen to Coker!

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So the same management team that has been running the company for several years now is buying the company? Why do people think that's a bad thing?

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10 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

So the same management team that has been running the company for several years now is buying the company? Why do people think that's a bad thing?

 

When you bring in a private equity firm to do this, there are usually additional financial needs that burden the company. This can lead to changes that raise prices, cut quality/service. These guys don't get involved to serve the hobby.

Edited by Buick64C (see edit history)
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They are the only show in town when it comes to quality Bias Ply  Red Line Tires to the best of my knowledge and the distribution net work they are in include Summit and Jegs. I think they will not change a thing with out opening the door for competition. Great Company well supported in our hobby. Love the You Tube adventurers they have about their finding and restoring old cars, trucks, Bikes and Boats. Wish I lived closer where I could go visit their facility that's packed with their collection. 

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My opinion is that Wade will do all he can to improve the company.  Let's give them a chance before we find the cloud in the silver lining!! 

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Agree Steve- I remember Harold expressing confidence in the management team and hopefully they will carry that burden of responsibility and the legacy forward.

Terry

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I, like many in our hobby, owe many thanks to Harold and Corky for all that they have done to support our needs and keeping many cars on the road that would have otherwise been left setting on their rims.  We've literally bought hundreds of tires from them over the years.  I have to say though that we have noticed some changes in overall attitude in service levels over the last 2-3 years.  Most of the time any issues were addressed and resolved, although a couple didn't get worked out completely satisfactorily.  I will continue to patronize Coker Tire because they've been good to us over the years, and in many cases are the only source for what we need.  I know that when Harold and Corky were running things we at least had someone there that shared our hobbyist needs and wants.  I just hope that the "businessmen" now in charge won't forget who it was that brought the company to where It is today.

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Does anyone remember the growth explosion of Harley Davidson in the early 80’s when this same thing happened there?

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1 hour ago, Buick64C said:

 

When you bring in a private equity firm to do this, there are usually additional financial needs that burden the company. This can lead to changes that raise prices, cut quality/service. These guys don't get involved to serve the hobby.

 

Any business is in business to make money. I can't say that Coker prices were particularly low prior to this.

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Many of today's breed of executives totally get it whether it is Ken Ahn at RM or Wade at Coker.  They can be found at a ton of events.  Wade was chairman of SEMA this past year as well.  My interactions with them is that they understand the customer, the hobby and that they are not the stereotype that some may want to believe of "corporate guys".  There is a reason they are successful and it is they are bright and hard workers.  I think Coker is in good hands and am happy for Lil and the family.  They have meant so much to us in the hobby and certainly Harold was a loyal AACA member and Past President.  AACA gave the first ever Supplier Award to Coker Tire in recognition of what they have done for the hobby.  Let's give them a chance!

 

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My interaction with Coker has been fine.

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Even my son, lying on the side of the road with his camera, has confidence it their tires.

The first set got me 10 years. The second set is at 8 years now. Two are worn down a bit. I will buy a third set next year or the year after. So that will be pushing 30 years worth.

If I go through two more sets that will be just fine.

Bernie

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I"m optimistic that perhaps this new group will want to fix the quality issues they've been fighting for the last 7 or 8 years. Failing, that perhaps they'll raise prices so high that someone will see an opportunity to build tires for us like Tom Lester did back in the '60s. 

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I had a blow out on 6 or 7 year old Coker tire. I called them to reorder and wanted to get delivery ASAP as the next week was an event I wanted to drive too about 250 miles away. It was on Thursday late afternoon I called. The tires arrived Saturday morning free delivery!  Monday I got a call asking me if I thought the blown tire was a defect and they wanted to put in a claim. This from the same management company that has been running the company for a few years that has purchased it. Give them time to see what happens. I honestly believe they know and understand the dynamics of both the business and the customer base that has made it a success. 

Dave S 

 

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When you bring in a private equity firm to do this, there are usually additional financial needs that burden the company. This can lead to changes that raise prices, cut quality/service. These guys don't get involved to serve the hobby.

 

well said Buick 64.

 

this happens more often then not in all businesses.

 

nice to be optimistic. better to be realistic.

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Sounds to me that the buyout is being done by the in house management employed by Coker, not an outside interest, but being funded by an outside financial group. I could be wrong!  I guess we just have to wait and see what happens. Although, many times, new management I.E. ownership, will have a different business ethic and plan than the original or previous ownership which can cause issues for the company and their clients. Lets hope that doesn't happen to Coker Tire. Corkey and his dad were  a big presence in the hobby, but not all their employees are.

Edited by jpage (see edit history)

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Okay, my prediction is premature and we should wait and see what happens. I'm not opposed to a company being profitable and will continue to buy from whoever is the best in the tire category. It's possible the Irving Park financial folks will bring sourcing, production and distribution expertise that will actually serve us better.

 

But, I have no doubt the financial parameters the company operates under will be different now then they were under new ownership and this will likely impact customers in some way. These folks buy a business for one reason, they believe their is value that is untapped. Sometimes, this means its a failing business they can turn around. In other situations, (Coker is likely one of them) there are market opportunities the previous owners did not leverage. Either way, these folks don't get involved to be minority, passive owners. 

 

Take a look at their web site and peruse their portfolio. https://www.irvingplacecapital.com/portfolio/

You will see that after 15 years in business, they have 11 current companies (including Coker) and 36 prior companies. This isn't Warren Buffett buying a company to keep for the long haul. I'd guess the Management got shares of the company for staying on during the transformation (whatever that means). When the company is sold again, or has an IPO, they can cash in.

 

I hope this works out for the better for the hobby and we do owe them the opportunity to continue to happily serve us. Also, I'm a capitalist and a business owner who doesn't fault others for the business decisions they make. It's a free market and the fact that someone is investing in our hobby could be a good sign. But, until we see what changes they make, I'll be skeptical that it means a better value for me.

Edited by Buick64C (see edit history)

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The tires for my 32 were too expensive for my pocket so my ride is sitting on doughnut spare tires which can be bought from salvage yards. They are tall and thin. I use Lexus SUV spares and use tubes. Total investment 160 bucks. 

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15 hours ago, superior1980 said:

Personally I couldn't care less about Coker closing their doors.  I haven't bought from them in years and I'll never buy from them again.  That's my opinion of their products and of their misnamed "customer service".

 

If you bought them from Universal or Lucas or  Summit or Jegs or Miller or virtually any other distributor, you still bought them from Coker. Coker owns Universal and Lucas, and sell to everyone else. Even if your vintage bias-ply tires say Firestone or Goodyear or BFGoodrich or any other manufacturer on the side, they're probably still made by Coker. If you need an old car bias-ply tire, it is more than 90% likely that it was made by Coker.

 

Radials are a different story and I prefer them when I can get them, but for cars like my 1929 Cadillac, for example, which uses tall, skinny 700x20 tires, Coker is the only place to get them, no matter which brand is on the side. Coker bought all the molds for the old tires and pays a licensing fee to the original manufacturer, but make no mistake, the Firestones on my 1929 Cadillac were NOT made by Firestone. Even the venerable old Lesters are now made by Coker.

 

It's close to a monopoly and if prices go up or quality goes down too much, they could get a visit from the anti-trust department at the DOJ (such as it is these days). Doubt it, but it's that close to a monopoly.

 

Spiking the football and saying it won't affect you and you hope they fail is a mistake because for just about anything made before 1935 or so, Coker is the only game in town for tires. I don't like it (my thoughts on Coker are well documented) but if it's Coker or driving around on bare wheels, well, I guess I have no choice, do I?

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Matt, have you dismissed these 7.00x20s which Derek Thille in Canada found ? If I had known about these tires, I would have had the running wheels I had built for the 1927 Cadillac in 20" rather than stock 21". Personally, I love the look and tread of these. A high pressure radial truck tire can't be beat. Nor even tied. Anyone who needs white sides could have 'Back apply as they like. Do you know when Lester ceased to be made by Lester ?   -  CC 

 

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Edited by C Carl
Add the letter "y"to they (see edit history)
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On ‎11‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 3:39 PM, Matt Harwood said:

 

If you bought them from Universal or Lucas or  Summit or Jegs or Miller or virtually any other distributor, you still bought them from Coker. Coker owns Universal and Lucas,  

Are you sure Coker owns Lucas?

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Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I called Coker talked to. Matt he was very helpful I ask some questions that I would think normally do not come up he had the answer . I think he knows how to listen and apply it very well. Told him I had gotten tires, there some time ago ( turned out was 15 yrs ago ) then proceeded to tell me the size and the date.  What a guy.  Mike

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