Merchandising: The Rise of the Cheapies

With the largest auto population in the world, the U.S. travels on rubber—and each wheel means a sale for some tire manufacturer. The fight to make that sale has led to one of the biggest price wars in years. The main weapon in the war is a new, low-priced tire known in the trade as a "cheapie," which sells for as little as $6.95 v. about $25 for a standard quality name-brand tire. The stakes are big: the tire industry sells some $3 billion worth of tires a year. The contestants are many:...

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