‘Stratego,’ not ‘Whac-A-Mole’
"You’ll hear and see many of the same things you’ve heard from us before,” said Steve McClellan, president of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s North American Tire business segment. “We believe we are more aligned than we’ve ever been.”
Speaking to attendees at the 2013 Goodyear Dealer Conference in Washington, D.C., recently, McClellan, in so many words, said Goodyear likes the path on which it is traveling. Consistency, integration and stability were his buzzwords.
“That stability is driven by a commitment to our strategy,” he said. “A strategy without consistency is really not a strategy at all. It’s a business version of that ‘Whac-A-Mole’ game, where you’re just trying to beat back whatever problem pops up.”
Here are three keys to the strategy.
1. Driving innovation. “When we say we’re ‘more driven,’ innovation is the gas in the tank,” says McClellan.
2. Competing in target market segments. “Targeted market segments are the parts of the industry that we believe offer the best profit potential.” The segments aren’t limited to products, but include categories and channels, too.
3. Building capability. “It’s about getting faster, more efficient, and more integrated, not just where the business is now, but where we are going.” It’s also about improving Goodyear’s supply chain.
New Eagle has landed
The newest member of the Goodyear Eagle family, the Eagle Sport All-Season, is a mid-tier high performance tire. It will be available to Goodyear dealers in June.
By the end of the year, it will be produced in 47 sizes ranging from 195/65R15 91V to 275/40R20 106W. Goodyear will back the new tire with a 50,000-mile limited tread life warranty.
The tire will be marketed against the BFGoodrich Super Sport A/S, Bridgestone Potenza GO19 Grid, Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval A/S and the General G-Max AS-03.
The Eagle Sport All-Season features the following:
• an asymmetric tread pattern, which includes angled tread block edges.
• the ability to maintain a large tread surface area, even at light loads.
• enhanced grip in ice and snow, thanks to an innovative tread compound.
• numerous full-depth tread sipes.
• enhanced wheel protection against accidental curb damage.
Scott Rogers, Goodyear’s chief marketing officer, told dealers the tire is “OE tunable.” He said the company already has begun working with three different original equipment manufacturers for possible OE fitments.
Rich Entel, president of New York Tire Factory in Jamaica, N.Y., believes Goodyear needs a new Goodyear-branded entry-level tire. He says the existing low-cost radial, the Integrity, is too old.
According to a Goodyear executive, the company still sells a lot of Integrity tires. Entel says Goodyear would sell even more with a fresher line. Although the new mid-tier Eagle Sport All-Season doesn’t fill that bill, Entel thinks he will like its positioning.
Goodyear also introduced its Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure light truck tire, which Rogers described as “a powerline for the on/off-road segment.”
It features a layer of DuPont Kevlar for puncture resistance over pavement, gravel and dirt. The Kevlar also helps with rain and snow traction.
The Adventure was engineered using Goodyear’s exclusive Durawall technology, which is designed to resist cuts in the sidewall area.
Goodyear will begin delivering the Wrangler to dealers in September. The full lineup of 59 metric (16- through 20-inch sizes) and LT sizes will cover 86% of the market. ■
Kramer: Non-brands dragged down profitability
Chairman, CEO and President Rich Kramer told attendees at the 2013 Goodyear Dealer Conference that “a consistent, aligned message” has helped guide the company’s transformation in North America. The proof? He cited Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s record earnings in the United States and Canada in 2012.
Goodyear’s tire production has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. In 2002 “one-third of the tires didn’t have our name on it,” he said. They dragged down the company’s profitability.
In 2013, non-Goodyear branded products are practically non-existent, leaving the other two sides of the triangle: G3 branded and original equipment tires. Kramer added that the OE segment is much more profitable, in part because the company is willing to walk away from fitments that aren’t a good fit.