Goodyear targets Kelly brand for original equipment fitments

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The Kelly brand is being expanded into the original equipment market.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. officials wouldn't elaborate on specifics at today's meeting with Kelly dealers in Kelleys Island, Ohio. "Our strategy with the vehicle manufacturers is to strategically place the brand where it makes sense to create the best pull-through opportunity at replacement," says Kevin Kramer, vice president of original equipment sales.

Kramer says many of Goodyear's large OE customers, in addition to Kelly dealers, had asked for the Kelly brand at OE. "We are actively working on a number of strategic projects that take advantage of the Kelly/American brand heritage."

Jon Rich, president of Goodyear Tire North America, says it's a great proposition for independent tire dealers. "We are creating a demand for the Kelly brand through OE."

OE fitments will be determined by a strategy emphasizing the value to the independent tire dealer, according to Mark McDonald, director of marketing for Kelly brand consumer tires. "We will make smart decisions that are mutually beneficial to both our dealers and the Kelly brand."

Growth plans for the Kelly brand include more than just OE fitments. Goodyear also plans to:

* increase the brand's presence in parts of the country "previously uncovered," says McDonald.

* introduce new sizes. Goodyear plans to add "a significant number" of new sizes to existing Kelly lines in the next 18 to 24 months.

* advertise more.

Goodyear has created dedicated sales and marketing resources for the Kelly brand, adds McDonald.

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