By Ian McConnell

ENTREPRENEUR Mike Welch has merged his online tyre retailing business in the US with a major player in the sector.

Mr Welch will be president and chief executive of the enlarged business formed by the merger of his Tirescanner business with American Tire Distributors’ (ATD’s) Tirebuyer operation.

Mr Welch sold his previous online tyre business, Peebles-based, to Michelin in 2015 for £50 million.

He said the enlarged Tirebuyer business would “operate offices between Edinburgh, Charlotte, Seattle and Philadelphia”.

Mr Welch flagged his view that online tyre retailing in the US was at a "tipping point".

ATD declared Mr Welch would be "instrumental in creating a best-in-class ecommerce platform and the future of online tyre-buying".

The enlarged Tirebuyer will operate more than 11,000 installer partner locations.

Mr Welch said: “By bringing together these two business models we have positioned ourselves to be at the front of this changing landscape. We are approaching a tipping point for online tyre retail in the US. After meeting with the ATD leadership team I was impressed by their big plans for the future looking market and could clearly see the synergy between their vision and mine.”

He added: “In this next chapter we will focus on creating value for all, establishing strategic partnerships across the industry alongside innovative customer solutions. I am very excited to lead the new Tirebuyer and a very talented group of colleagues through this next phase of growth and opportunity.”

Stuart Schuette, president and chief executive of American Tire Distributors, said: “ATD has been on a journey of transformation to bring digital, data and technology solutions on behalf of the industry that help our customers and vendors, not only compete, but plan for the future of service, the solutions consumers will seek, and the ease required to provide it.

He added: “In our position as a connector of the automotive aftermarket, we have the unique ability to support the creation of value for the industry. Michael will be instrumental in creating a best-in-class ecommerce platform and the future of online tyre-buying.”