Sears Holdings Corp. is lending its iconic DieHard brand to tires. Beginning this month the DieHard Silver Touring A/S will be sold in 36 T-rated sizes at all 650-ish Sears Auto Centers across the U.S. And there are more DieHard tire lines on the way, says Tom Park, president of the Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands division for Sears.
Park says the company is leveraging the iconic legacy of the DieHard brand — now in its 49th year — following a study of nearly 600 consumers. Each was given a list of 10 tire brands, which included Michelin and Goodyear. “We asked them, ‘If you were going to buy a tire, which brand would you buy?’ And wouldn’t you know, out of the 10 brands, DieHard finished in the top five.”
Extending the DieHard name to tires actually is part of a larger Sears strategy that includes the company’s other big brand names: Kenmore and Craftsman. The company is expanding its line of Kenmore appliances, and also is making technological improvements within both brands. “Smart” Craftsman garage door openers are just one example.
With tires, Sears is starting with the broad-line DieHard Silver Touring A/S. It’s being manufactured by Kumho Tire Co. Inc. in South Korea. Light truck and SUV tires will be introduced in the next 12 months, and Sears is looking to add DieHard ultra-high performance and high performance segments within the next 12 to 18 months.
The DieHard Silver Touring A/S is being marketed as a Tier 2 tire, the “better” tire, at Sears, says Park. “That’s why we specifically call it the DieHard Silver.”
However, Philip Philip, general manager of the DieHard brand, says the company is still “working through the overall portfolio strategy in terms of how we get DieHard into the portfolio.” That could mean marketing it as a Tier 1 tire in a specific tire segment.
It also could mean the eventual elimination of the RoadHandler tire, which is currently co-branded with the Hankook brand. The Guardsman private brand is a Tier 3 tire in the Sears inventory. Sears offers Michelin, BFGoodrich, Cooper, Goodyear, Uniroyal, Continental and General tires, “and we can special order any name brand product,” says Park.
Consumers can buy DieHard tires online at either DieHard.com or Sears.com, although they only can be installed at Sears Auto Centers.
Sears highlights these features on the DieHard Silver Touring A/S:
- an advanced carbon tread compound that delivers wet and dry grip;
- nylon belt edge layers, which are normally found in high performance tires;
- full-depth sipes, effective for the life of the tire, which are engineered to cut through water film for greater wet traction and maximize all-season performance, even during harsh winters;
- jointless, spiral-wound bead bundles designed to isolate road harshness, provide enhanced comfort, lower vibration and allow for a more precise tire-to-rim fit; and
- tension-control technology, which increases the tension in the bead and shoulder area, providing improved handling and steering response.
Sears backs the DieHard Silver Touring A/S tire with a 70,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.
It will be available in sizes ranging from 13- to 18-inches, and the suggested retail price ranges from $63 to $149.
The company is supporting the launch of the tire line with a national marketing and advertising campaign, plus associate training. “We’re all-in on this,” says Park.
At one time Sears sold close to 20 million tires a year. That total dropped to 3.1 million last year, according to Modern Tire Dealer statistics.
“When you think about auto batteries, you think about DieHard, and now not only can DieHard power your vehicle, it can also... cover the journey when the rubber meets the road,” says Brian Kaner, president of Sears Auto Centers. “So adding the trusted DieHard brand to our tire lineup is just one more way we are listening to our customers and building lasting relationships so they can focus on running their lives and not worry about their vehicles.”