Retail

Tire Manufacturers’ Associate Dealer Groups Offer More Rewards, More Marketing Help, More Tire Incentives

Joy Kopcha
Posted on April 19, 2016

Benjamin Lee says 1,700 of the 2,000 tires in stock in his shop are Kumho-brand tires.
Benjamin Lee says 1,700 of the 2,000 tires in stock in his shop are Kumho-brand tires.
Cash bonuses. Travel awards. Training opportunities. Personal attention. A free vacuum cleaner. These are the benefits independent tire dealers reap and praise as members of tire manufacturers’ associate dealer groups.

“It does help a lot. I get good incentives, good rebates from them,” says Benjamin Lee, a member of the Kumho Premium Fuel program and owner of Tires4U in Buena Park, Calif. In 2015 his volume purchases earned him a bonus of at least $10,000 each quarter. He also qualified for a $4,000 travel voucher he can use to go anywhere. “I’m trying to take a trip to Russia.”

Lee also likes to bulk up his Kumho tire inventory to coincide with consumer rebates. He takes advantage of special pricing offers on popular tire sizes, and “then I get a good price and a good rebate.” He also uses the Kumho points that accumulate from his purchases and spends them to buy branded promotional goods, like tire pressure gauges, USB drives and pens, which he gives to customers. “It promotes my business and Kumho as well.”

Sam Timmons and Brad Wright own Fort Worth Tire & Service Inc., and Timmons says Yokohama is the mainline tire brand in their 10-bay shop in the fast-growing Texas city. The Yokohama Advantage program helps them earn bonuses on every tire they sell, as well as all-inclusive tropical vacations. “It’s an incredible experience and the people you meet, it’s exciting.” In 2015 the program set a sales goal for the dealership, and after hitting it, the store qualified for an extra trip.

And while the trips are fun, Timmons says they’re also meaningful. “You have one small meeting for a few hours. It’s an opportunity to sit and talk; they give you projections and tell you what’s going on in the product line. You rub shoulders with the gentlemen on the food chain, and I know they remember who we are. It is a Yokohama family atmosphere.”

For Ernie Adamic, owner of Confident Tire and Car Care Inc. in Euclid, Ohio, the Kenda Traction program has helped him introduce the tire brand to his Cleveland-area market. He likes the cash rewards he receives, as well as the placement on the “find a dealer” locator on the Kenda website. But his biggest boost has come from the marketing and educational resources.

“The Kenda tire is a good value tire, and it’s new in our market. Not everyone sells them,” Adamic says. “They offer training online for the salesmen to go over the tires, talk about what they’re good for, what vehicles they’ll fit.

“We’ve been carrying this tire for two years. It’s done well for us; it has boosted our sales, and brings customers in because of price. The tire itself has a one year road hazard warranty. To build the customer relationship off this tire has been a big help for us.”

Barry Steinberg, owner of Direct Tire & Auto Service in Boston, Mass., is a member of multiple groups, but one is at the top of his list: Continental Gold. “Every other manufacturer is trying to chase them, because when they call me to talk about their program they ask, ‘What’s Continental offering?’

“I don’t know how they come up with the programs, but it seems like they’ve asked the dealers, what can they do for us? It’s extremely lucrative financially. I just sent a couple of my guys on trips, but a lot of the companies have those. I think it’s the combination that they have what we call the behind the line money, the points. You can always buy a vacuum cleaner online. It’s like free money.”

Even though Steinberg sells more tires from other brands, he calls Continental his “go-to tire.”

“The line coverage and availability is good. The buying price is great, and they’re not selling tires online like Goodyear and Michelin,” Steinberg says.

And it appears there will be plenty more programs for dealers to join in the future. Balkrishna Industries Ltd. is launching a program for dealers later in 2016, and other tire manufacturers and distributors are working on programs as well, though they weren’t ready to unveil them for this story.

Everyone at Fort Worth Tire & Service wears overalls, including owners Sam Timmons (left) and Brad Wright.
Everyone at Fort Worth Tire & Service wears overalls, including owners Sam Timmons (left) and Brad Wright.

Program: Advantage

Offered by: Yokohama Tire Corp.

Website: advantage.yokohamatire.com

The details: The Advantage program is a comprehensive associate dealer rewards program, and it offers cash payouts up to 6% of purchases, flexible travel rewards up to $1,500, and uncapped marketing funds up to 3%. Signage, showroom displays and other point-of-sale (POS) materials are available, plus training support through the online training module EXCEED (Excellence Through Certification and Education). Exclusive pricing is available from industry partners that manage consumer financing programs, website development and Internet marketing, national warranty and road hazard programs, and other tire dealer-related services. There is also a commercial Advantage program with similar types of rewards.

Who’s eligible to participate? Full-service retail dealers in the United States with a storefront offering mounting, balancing and other automotive services.

Top three benefits for participants: Lucrative cash bonuses up to 6% on all Yokohama consumer treads and flexible annual travel and marketing fund rewards. The program offers a variety of rewards for every tier level (showroom displays, signage, POS material, online training modules and customized online portal).

What’s new in the program for 2016? The co-op advertising program has been expanded into a more flexible marketing fund and dealers can now set up direct deposit of Advantage cash payouts for a quick, convenient way to receive their rewards.

Number of participants: More than 1,800 dealers.

Program: Alliance

Offered by: Michelin North America Inc.

The details: The Alliance program is intended to offer Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal shoppers an excellent retail experience at dealerships that demonstrate professionalism, product knowledge, convenience, integrity and excellent services. Alliance programs address the needs of specific customer types, volume levels and business requirements, providing each level of retailer a profit margin sufficient to succeed and grow in a competitive environment. To support its network that recommends the company’s tires, Michelin pursues quality service, analytic tools to meet varying market conditions, a variety of delivery options, and incentives and consumer promotions. The tire maker also leverages new technology to keep customers informed so they can make good decisions.

Who’s eligible to participate? For independent retailers, Michelin requires a minimum of 60% retail business, and, depending on the program type, a purchase minimum of 400 Michelin and BFGoodrich tires (for indirect customers) or 5,000 Michelin Americas Small Tires (MAST) units for direct service. Larger, regional retailers have separate requirements. The dealer also must provide a welcoming environment for shoppers, competent salespeople who are willing to pursue various training courses, and the capability to provide expert tire and wheel service for today’s complex vehicles.

Top three benefits for participants: MAST brands, Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal, are recognizable brands with reputations for performance and quality that command excellent or best-in-class brand equity for consumers. The loyalty of original equipment tire owners provides willing buyers for Michelin tires, which is a tire of choice for many automakers. A well-trained, energetic and technically adept sales force willing to share information, assist in market and business analysis with support for dealer merchandising efforts. Lucrative incentive programs and funding for customer advertising and promotion efforts are all benefits.

What’s new in the program for 2016? Sales programs have undergone subtle changes in 2016 but the focus for Michelin and its dealers is on growth in all MAST brands. Outside of program terms and conditions, many operational innovations are also being offered to better inform dealers on order status, delivery dates and improvements of online statements that clearly show the dealer’s progress toward goals and program earnings. There also are two key product launches in 2016.

Number of participants: Approximately 6,000 retail outlets.

Program: Bridgestone Affiliated Retailer Nationwide Network

Offered by: Bridgestone Americas Inc.

Website: www.affiliatedretailer.net

The details: The Bridgestone Affiliated Retailer Nationwide Network program is designed to help participating dealer members capture a larger share of tire demand in their local market and enjoy greater profits by providing the tools needed to help increase car count, improve margins and decrease operational expenses. There are more than 50 membership benefits available to dealer members of the Bridgestone Affiliated Retailer Nationwide Network, including advertising and promotion support, volume discounts, preferred auto parts pricing from nationally recognized suppliers, a national lubricants program, training, online sales capabilities, social media, a credit card program and a nationwide tire protection plan, among others.

Who’s eligible to participate? Independently owned tire and service retailers.

Top three benefits for participants: Advertising and promotional support, including online sales capabilities and social media; preferred pricing with NAPA, Auto Zone and CARQUEST/Advance on parts purchases; and access to the Shell National Lubricants program, which features brands like Quaker State, Pennzoil and Shell Rotella.

What’s new in the program for 2016? There are a number of new support programs available for dealers in 2016, including the Nationwide Network Shell Lubricants program, social media support through our optimize social media management tool, a partnership with Excel Tire Gauge and TireConnect, the tire maker’s online sales and e-commerce platform.

Number of participants: More than 2,700.

Program: Driven

Offered by: Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.

Website: driven.toyotires.com

The details: The Driven program rewards associate dealers with cash back, Toyo-branded merchandise and more. Dealers must purchase 50 units to enroll, then 100 units per quarter to qualify for payouts. Cash rewards are earned based on three levels and received via a reloadable debit card. Dealers receive a point-of-purchase (POP) kit after the first order of 100 tires and each quarter Toyo rewards top performers with branded merchandise. Dealers who achieve the highest level within four consecutive quarters in a calendar year are eligible for a signage program. Driven dealers also have access to online training and marketing assets, plus they are listed on ToyoTires.com.

Who’s eligible to participate? The Driven program is open to dealers not currently buying direct from Toyo. Dealers interested in joining the Driven program should contact their local Toyo wholesaler or Toyo regional sales manager. The enrollment process includes filling out an application, available at driven.toyotires.com, making a minimum purchase of 50 units once the application is approved. Once enrolled, the Driven dealer can track purchases and payouts through the program’s website. The associate dealer must purchase 100 units per quarter to qualify for payouts.

Top three benefits for participants: Dealers earn cash rewards based on their purchases. They have access to Toyo dealer resources including merchandising materials, POP materials, the T3 Training program, photography, logos and customizable ads. Driven dealers are listed on the toyotires.com website.

What’s new in the program for 2016? The 2016 program continues to offer all the advantages as in past years.

Barry Steinberg is counting down to the May opening of his fifth Direct Tire & Auto Service location in the Boston metro. A member of the Continental Gold program, he thinks Continental “cares about Barry Steinberg and Direct Tire.”
Barry Steinberg is counting down to the May opening of his fifth Direct Tire & Auto Service location in the Boston metro. A member of the Continental Gold program, he thinks Continental “cares about Barry Steinberg and Direct Tire.”

Program: Fanatic

Offered by: Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.

Website: fanaticdealer.com

The details: The Fanatic program is a quarterly rewards-based program that pays cash directly to retail dealers for purchasing eligible Falken brand tires from a designated distributor. Dealers earn cash for purchasing as few as 60 units per quarter and enjoy higher payouts based on three levels of performance. Fanatic offers specials and features double or sometimes triple cash rewards on specific marketing lines throughout the year. The Fanatic program is designed to foster loyalty between Falken wholesale distributors and their retail dealers as cash rewards are only paid on tire units purchased from a designated distributor. Up to 20% of purchases can be made from a secondary Fanatic distributor.

Who’s eligible to participate? Dealers who do not already have a direct purchasing relationship with Falken. Dealers must display a minimum of three Falken passenger/light truck lines and have a minimum opening order of 24 units.

Top three benefits for participants: The program offers payouts for each tire sold, as well as quarterly promotions with double and sometimes triple rewards on eligible tires. Dealers earn and redeem marketing points for POP materials, and for Falken tires. Dealers can view their points balance and place orders online via the dealer dashboard. Dealers also will be included on the Falken dealer locator on falkentire.com and get access to Falken’s Performance, Education, Achievement, Knowledge (PEAK) training portal.

What’s new in the program for 2016? The Fanatic program is now offering rewards on four new tires. In the largest launch in company history, Falken has unveiled two new PCR lines (Sincera SN250 A/S, Azenis FK450 A/S) and two new LT lines (WildPeak A/T3W, WildPeak M/T). To celebrate, the Fanatic program is offering double rewards on all four tires throughout the second quarter of 2016.

Number of participants: Approximately 2,000 active dealers.

Program: FasTrack

Offered by: Pirelli Tire North America Inc.

Website: www.fastrack.pirelli.com

The details: The Pirelli FasTrack associate dealer program offers independent premium tire retailers the opportunity to substantially increase their profits. The process of becoming an associate dealer with Pirelli’s FasTrack team is simple. Once a dealer has been nominated by an authorized FasTrack distributor and has been enrolled, the purchase of 24 Pirelli tires allows that dealer to start earning money. All Pirelli branded passenger, SUV and non-commercial light truck tires, including winter tires, are eligible for the program.

Who’s eligible to participate? Independent tire retailers who do not have direct accounts with Pirelli.

Top three benefits for participants: Numerous rewards (quarterly, annual, trip, loyalty, co-op and spiff); easy participation — only 30% of retail locations need to be enrolled, and two FasTrack distributors (primary and secondary) can be chosen from which FasTrack rewards can be earned.

What’s new in the program for 2016? New levels for annual rewards, loyalty rewards and trip rewards. A common owner group classification also has been added to the program.

Number of participants: More than 1,100.

Program: Gold Program

Offered by: Continental Tire the Americas LLC

Website: contilink.com/gold

The details: The goal of the Continental Gold program is to be the independent tire dealer’s number one partner and supplier. Being number one means gaining complete confidence in Continental’s product, people and program. It also means making Continental’s retail partners views and concerns a part of the process. The Gold Program offers dealers opportunities to grow their business with an easy-to-implement and dealer-friendly system that offers a spectrum of opportunities and a lucrative program that will maximize results.

Who’s eligible to participate? Independent tire retailers. Retailers are defined as any location that sells to the end consumer and has the equipment in the shop to balance and mount tires.

Top three benefits for participants: Incentives such as Gold marketing line rewards, volume bonus rewards at all levels and a dedicated customer service team.

What’s new in the program for 2016? A new Continental Automotive Credit Card program and a new showroom program.

Number of participants: 2,500.

Program: Goodyear Tire & Service Network

Offered by: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

The details: The Goodyear Tire & Service Network was established in 2009 and has more than 2,500 members in North America. This program offers tire retailers a total business solution for consumer tires and automotive service. Benefits of the program include nationwide warranties, national account support, training, and vendor parts and equipment purchase programs. The comprehensive marketing program includes POS materials, advertising support, the Goodyear credit card, national rebates, websites and other digital assets. There is also a similar program for Goodyear commercial dealers.

Who’s eligible to participate? Direct and G3X customers can work with their local Goodyear account manager to be nominated for the Tire & Service Network program. If additional information is needed about the minimum purchase requirement and other program qualifications for the network, please contact goodyeardealerprograms@goodyear.com.

Top three benefits for participants: Benefits of the program include nationwide warranties, national account support, training, and vendor parts and equipment purchase programs, plus a comprehensive marketing program.

What’s new in the program for 2016? An enhanced marketing program includes POS materials, advertising support, the Goodyear credit card, national rebates, websites and other digital assets.

Number of participants: More than 2,500 members in North America.

Program: GT Radial Smart Program

Offered by: Giti Tire (USA) Ltd.

Website: www.gtradialsmartprogram.com

The details: For wholesalers and direct retailers, the program provides a 2% accrual on invoices, which can be used for promotions such as Internet ads, billboards, newspaper ads, TV/radio spots, dealer events and more. Associate dealers can earn $1 cash credit per tire when they buy 100 to 250 units in a quarter, $1.50 per tire for 251 to 500 units per quarter, and $2 per tire for more than 500 units per quarter. All participating dealers may receive a GT Radial marketing kit that includes one tire stack cover, one tire stand, two window decals, six tire inserts and 10 product catalogs.

Who’s eligible to participate? U.S. wholesalers, direct dealers and associate dealers who carry GT Radial passenger and light truck tires.

Top three benefits for participants: Wholesalers and direct retailers receive a 2% accrual on their invoices, which can be used for promotions. Associate dealers can earn cash credits on purchases. All participating dealers can order a GT Radial marketing kit.

What’s new in the program for 2016? A program website — www.gtradialsmartprogram.com — is now available. POP merchandise can be obtained by participating wholesalers and dealers through the website.

Program: Hankook One

Offered by: Hankook Tire America Corp.

Website: www.onehankooktireusa.com

The details: Hankook One dealers are grouped into one of four volume categories and earn cash rewards in the top three categories. A minimum of 100 tires per quarter earns a dealer cash for every tire sold, and at the highest diamond level, dealers who purchase at least 400 Hankook tires a quarter earn $3 per tire. In addition, dealers who sell one of the nine premium lines of passenger and light truck Hankook-brand tires earn a $2 premium per tire.

Top three benefits for participants: Cash rewards based on volume and premium line tire sales; accrual of program points to purchase Hankook marketing materials, merchandise and travel for dealers who purchase more than 250 units per quarter; participation in national consumer promotions and seasonal specials.

Program: Kenda Traction

Offered by: Kenda USA

Website: KendaTraction.com

The details: Offered in conjunction with authorized Kenda distributors, dealers earn up to $2 per tire between the Kenda Traction Black Card and co-op funds. Dealers earn rewards with purchases of at least 125 tires each quarter. The program is tiered, so more tire purchases qualify for higher payouts. Purchases of 125 to 249 tires each quarter qualify for tier 1, purchases of 250 to 399 tires qualify for tier 2, and 400 tires or more qualify for tier 3. Kenda works with its distributors to offer reasonable trade area management to enhance the retailer’s value with the Kenda brand.

Who’s eligible to participate? Tire retailers who purchase from an authorized Kenda Traction distributor and who meet the purchase minimum for the program. Kenda ST radial trailer tires, ATV, UTV, side-by-side, golf, lawn and garden, and light industrial products are not eligible for payment.

Top three benefits for participants: Black Card rewards/Kenda store co-op rewards, access to marketing portal, and inclusion in the dealer locator on www.kendatire.com

What’s new in the program for 2016? Kenda is continuing to add new options for POP materials and Kenda branded materials in the Kenda store, as well as marketing materials and support for Traction retailers. Kenda also has expanded its product coverage adding the new Kenda Klever S/T CUV/SUV tire and Klever H/T light truck/SUV tire which will be available in the summer.

Number of participants: About 1,000 dealers.

Program: Medallion and Century

Offered by: Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

The details: Cooper has two programs, Medallion (for Cooper brand tires) and Century (for Mastercraft brand tires). Cooper provides marketing insights and assistance, product education, and other tools and techniques to help dealers build their business.

Program: Next Level Associate Dealer Program

Offered by: Nexen Tire America Inc.

Website: www.nexentireusa.com/next-level

The details: The Nexen Next Level dealer program is designed to be a simple way to reward our valued dealers for their loyalty to our brand and to provide them opportunities for future growth and profitability. Nexen’s program is focused on what it calls the most important reward responsible for driving your business ... cash! Next Level offers generous cash back rewards paid out quarterly on most Nexen patterns, as well as a lucrative volume bonus structure.

Who’s eligible to participate? Approved tire dealers who purchase Nexen tires through an authorized Next Level distributor. Auto dealerships are not authorized.

Top three benefits for participants: Cash back rewards based on volume, a chance to win life-changing money in the Nexen Next Level Sweepstakes, and access to an easy-to-use company store for POP and other merchandise.

What’s new in the program for 2016? Using reloadable cash cards for faster payouts.

Number of participants: 2,700 enrolled dealers.

Program: Premium Fuel

Offered by: Kumho Tire USA Inc.

Website: www.Kumhoportal.com

The details: As a member of Kumho’s Premium Fuel program, dealers can grow as big as they want with no earning cap on quarterly bonuses and annual volume bonuses. All it takes is 36 units a quarter to reap the benefits. As an added benefit to the cash rewards, Premium Fuel also offers each member easy qualification requirements to earn annual travel rewards which is in the form of a voucher to use for travel at any time and to any place. Plus, each Premium Fuel member will receive extensive marketing support.

Who’s eligible to participate? Retail stores with physical locations that do not have more than 10% in automobile and wholesale sales.

Top three benefits for participants: The Premium Fuel program provides dealers with POP/POS items; quarterly, annual and travel bonuses for their hard work.

What’s new in the program for 2016? Annual volume bonus and more Premium Fuel eligible products throughout Kumho Tire’s lineup across all segments (performance, passenger, and truck/SUV/CUV) for easier qualification for rewards. ■

Related Topics: Alliance Tire Group, Associate dealer programs, Bridgestone Americas Inc., Continental Tire the Americas LLC, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Giti Tire (USA) Ltd., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Hankook Tire America Corp., Kenda USA, Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc., Nexen Tire America Inc., Pirelli Tire North America, Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc., Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp., Yokohama Tire Corp.

Joy Kopcha Senior Editor & Digital Projects Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Steve

     | about 3 years ago

    Thanks Joy. Nice summary

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