A lot of news came out of the 2016 Goodyear Dealer Conference, all aimed at preparing tire dealers for the near future and beyond. Here are five key take-a-ways from the “Breaking-Through” conference, in no particular order.
- Goodyear is going to target Hispanics in key cities. According to Chief Marketing Officer Scott Rogers, Hispanics represent 60 million consumers. That number will grow by 150% in the next several years. “They really aren’t being marketed to directly by those in the tire industry, including Goodyear. We’re going to take the lead and change that.” Last year’s target audience, millennials (age 18 to 35), are not being forgotten, not with $200 billion in annual buying power at their disposal. And one in five Hispanics is a millennial.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is Goodyear’s new NASCAR spokesman. Following in the footsteps of fellow NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards, Earnhardt brings added star power to Goodyear, which is the exclusive supplier to all three NASCAR series. One out of every three Goodyear tire buyers is a NASCAR fan. Rogers told the dealers the company wanted to ramp up the activation of its NASCAR sponsorship, and partnering with a driver “who has been selected most popular for 13 years running, who has more social media followers than anyone else in the sport, and whose influence goes well beyond just NASCAR fans” does just that. “Numerous polls have him in the top five of the most influential athletes,” he added. The commercials featuring Earnhardt Jr. began airing on the FOX sports network during the Daytona 500.
- The new Wrangler TrailRunner AT will replace three tires. The mid-tier on- and off-road tire will replace the Wrangler ArmorTrac, Wrangler AT/S and Wrangler RT/S. Its size complement, ranging from 225/75R16 to 275/60R20, will cover more than 80% of the all-terrain category. “The total number of sizes in those lines (being phased out) is less than 30,” said Shana Downs, brand manager. “There will be 41 sizes in the TrailRunner, and we’ll be adding more sizes and vitality.” The LT sizes will feature the three peak mountain/snowflake symbol. Goodyear is backing the TrailRunner AT with a 55,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.
- Smart Tech App gets smarter. Goodyear upgraded its customized road service app, resulting in a 16% reduction in time to get fleet customers back on the road. The national average for roll-time is between 2:11 and 2:17, said Jose Martinez, business solutions manager. Conservatively, the 16% improvement in roll-time would break the two-hour downtime barrier, which has been a goal for companies offering road service. The upgrades include a “notes” feature that allows the servicing technician to exchange call updates with a Goodyear Fleet HQ agent; access to account billing information; and an enhanced portal for fleets and dealers to review service call status and view photos of the damaged tire.
- Online selling is meeting expectations. Andy Traicoff, vice president of sales and customer development, updated dealers on the goodyear.com installer program, which last year was met with both excitement and skepticism. “We said that we’d drive new customers to your stores, for free; that they’d purchase additional services; and that you’d receive the best compensation package in the industry,” he said. “And we’re proud to say that we’re delivering on those promises. In fact, early data shows we’re over-delivering. Of the customers who are walking through your doors from a goodyear.com online purchase, almost 70% are new to the location. Best of all, nearly 85% said they planned to return to the store for future business.” Traicoff added that 50% of the online purchasers bought additional services at the time of the installation.