Goodyear Dealer Conference, Sunday night report: Rich prepares to reveal turnaround plan

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On the eve of its 2003 Dealer Conference at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando, Fla., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. was promoting the event as its "single most important meeting for 2003."

Goodyear previewed many of the meeting's highlights on the hotel's in-house convention channel, what the company calls its "All-Star Dealer Network."

Jon Rich, president of Goodyear's North American Tire operations, will reveal his four-point turnaround plan for North America on Monday.

Bob Keegan, Goodyear's chairman and CEO, will address the dealers on the vital role North America's business unit plays in Goodyear's global operation. He will speak on Tuesday.

There also will be a number of independent tire dealer workshops, which will key on the following topics:

* Goodyear's three major brands: Goodyear (new products, including the Eagle F1 and Fortera), Dunlop ("breakout session") and Kelly (increased advertising, new sizes).

* Commercial sessions, which will cover new products, retreading and more. There also will be a presentation by three fleets -- including Penske and Florida Power and Light -- that will focus on what they want from the attendees.

* National account business. Goodyear claims some 20% of its dealers don't realize that there is "big money in commissions" from national accounts.

Dealers in attendance will get the chance to buy selected products for up to 50% off.

The All-Star Dealer Network also played heavily on the "On the Wings of Goodyear" slogan. That included running "On the Wings of Goodyear" television advertising, a consumer ad campaign first introduced by Goodyear two years ago.

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