MARKETING: Sticky Debate

Every year around this time, tire dealers across the country look to the sky prayerfully. The sooner heavy snow falls, the more snow tires they can expect to sell. To their dismay, recent winters have been unusually mild; on top of that, seven states have banned the metal-studded tires that accounted for 40% of all snow tires sold in the early 1970s. More states may well enact similar laws on the ground that the metal studs tear up highway surfaces. As a result, snow-tire sales have melted steadily, from 19.1 million tires in 1972 to 17.5 million in 1974;...

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