"Influence the influencers" will be Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.'s mantra as it continues to build purchase intent among consumers, Tim Chaney, the company's vice president of marketing, told Modern Tire Dealer during last week's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
"We're heavily invested in the (automotive) enthuasiast market and will probably invest even more next year,” says Chaney. Toyo was highly visible during the 2019 SEMA Show, with fitments on more than 30 vehicles, and as the sponsor of its well-traveled Treadpass conduit between the central and south halls of the Las Vegas (Nev.) Convention Center.
“But our influencers aren’t just enthusiasts. They’re our dealer partners, as well. We’re creating new programs to work directly with our key dealer partners…co-branding programs, marketing programs, promotions. We’re going to leverage our dealer network to promote Toyo.”
The company has invested “a significant amount of money” in the Pacific Northwest, where Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. enjoyed exclusivity selling Toyo brand passenger and light truck tires for more than 50 years, until Jan. 1, 2019. “There hadn’t been any kind of (Toyo-generated) advertising in that market,” says Cheney.
Michael Graber, who will replace Randy Gaetz as Toyo’s vice president of sales in January 2020, says that while Toyo’s relationship with Les Schwab “is very strong,” Toyo is no longer exclusive to one distributor or dealer in the northwestern U.S., outside of a Toyo brand truck tire distribution agreement with Schwab in Oregon and Washington. “We’ve had good success with both Les Schwab and other companies that operate (in the area), whether they are distributors that are promoting our associate dealer program or retailers like Point S and Discount Tire.”