Goodyear tells dealers it will sell tires online
There were many “takeaways” from the recent 2015 Goodyear Dealer Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. Two of the more newsworthy were the announcement that Goodyear would soon be selling tires on goodyear.com, and the introduction of a low-cost radial manufactured in the U.S.
The record 2,140 people in attendance might argue over the order, but it’s hard to believe they would debate the significance of the following five topics discussed at the meeting.
1. Goodyear will sell tires at goodyear.com. Not everyone at the convention was happy with this announcement. In a nutshell, Goodyear believes offering consumers the opportunity to buy and pay for tires when they visit goodyear.com will be a win-win for both Goodyear and the dealers. Goodyear gets the sale, and the dealers get 1) a delivery fee from Goodyear, 2) all installation charges, and 3) the opportunity to generate additional service revenue from consumers they would not see normally. The company admits the number of consumers buying online is very small. Still, the online platform “shows growth potential,” said Andy Traicoff, vice president of consumer sales and customer development.
2. Low-cost radials are being produced in the U.S. The timing of the re-re-launch of the Kelly brand couldn’t be better. Tariffs ranging from 30% to 109% have been assigned to every consumer tire imported from China, and these are many of the same tires the new Kelly Edge A/S and AT tires will compete against in the economy tier. Also, the tires are being manufactured in the U.S. As part of the launch, Goodyear will consolidate Kelly lines. For example, the Charger GT, Safari Signature and Explorer Plus will be discontinued.
3. The company really relies on Assurance. According to Goodyear, 2.6 million more Assurance tires were shipped in the U.S. and Canada in 2014 than in 2013. The increase alone represents 1% of all the units it shipped. There are four Assurance lines: the Tripletred All-Season, Comfortred Touring, Fuel Max and the newest member of the family, the All-Season. Made available to dealers beginning last July, the Assurance All-Season will reach 1 million in sales faster than any other Goodyear tire ever, said Ryan Patterson, president of consumer tires in the U.S. and Canada. Increased demand led to supply problems, which the company hopes to rectify this year, he added.
4. Goodyear is taking on Michelin. Goodyear wants to be the leader in fuel efficient truck tires. Why? Because the number one concern of long-haul fleets across America is fuel costs. One company executive said Michelin is the target. The new Fuel Max LHS joins the Fuel Max LHD in the lineup. It is available in four Load Range G and H sizes: 11R22.5, 11R24.5, 295/75R22.5 and 285/75R24.5. A precure retread pattern that complements the Fuel Max LHD also was introduced.
A Fuel Max trailer tire, the LHT, will be available in the fourth quarter, as will the RSA regional all-position tire. The move away from number nomenclature is calculated according to Brian Buckham, general manager of commercial product, marketing and future innovation. “We’re trying to simplify the naming process.”
5. Rich Kramer thinks millennials are critical to Goodyear’s success. Kramer, the chairman, CEO and president of Goodyear, talked about millennials in his speech at the 2014 dealer conference. He also addressed Generation Y — and its $1 trillion in buying power — at this year’s event. “Make no mistake, our future is going to be shaped by these new millennials,” he said. “Consumers are no longer captive. Consumers are buying on their own terms. Consumers are in control.”
Kramer said to win in this environment, Goodyear and Goodyear dealers “have to make the tire-buying process easier.” And selling tires on goodyear.com helps pro actively accomplish that goal: “All we’re doing is enhancing the shift to buying online.”
Goodyear also launched a line of mid-tier performance tires produced in the U.S. The Dunlop Signature HP will be offered in 30 V – and W-rated sizes, 13 more than the tire it replaces, the SP Sport Signature.
According to Traicoff, the size complement, ranging from 16 to 19 inches, will cover 62% of the targeted all-season, high performance segment.
“With the addition of the new Kelly Edge power line and the new Dunlop Signature HP, every segment, every price point, every consumer need can be met with a relevant product from Goodyear,” said Traicoff. ■