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Goodyear's online tire sales: mixed results

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Two Chicago area tire dealers report a smooth process for installing tires sold through Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s website. Two months after Goodyear rolled out its online tire sales program in the Chicago market, four other dealers tell Modern Tire Dealer they are waiting for their first installation.

“You hate to see the manufacturers selling directly to the public, but we have done a couple of installs,” says Michael McBride, service manager for Waukegan Tire & Supply Co., which operates four Waukegan Tire stores serving northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. 

“It’s just one more competitor in the market. But all the big distributors are doing it now. All of them have some kind of direct system where they’re selling directly to the public. We have done two installs for Goodyear and the process went pretty smoothly.”

The process begins with an email requesting an appointment. “Once the appointment is set up, the tires are automatically sent to our store and the customer comes in and we put them on. The customer has paid in full directly to Goodyear. No money exchanges hands between the customer and us. It all goes directly through Goodyear.”

Neither customer who chose Waukegan Tire for the installation opted to buy an alignment or other services. The possibility of getting some additional work is all that’s in it for the dealer, according to McBride.

“You make the labor and a small delivery commission on the tire, but the labor and the delivery commission are flat rates set by Goodyear. The hope is that you can look these cars over and hopefully get some more work out of them. That’s how Goodyear is selling it to the dealers.”

Todd Gazdich, general manager at Brown Tire of Valparaiso Inc., was able to sell additional services to a customer who selected his shop to install the Goodyear Assurance Comfort Treads purchased on Goodyear’s website. He also reports the process went smoothly.

“There were no issues, no problems, we got our credits promptly from Goodyear. It went a lot smoother than I thought it would.”  Gazdich not only installed the tires, he sold an alignment, struts and road hazard protection to the customer, who was visiting Brown Tire for the first time. Brown Tire, which was established by Jim Brown in 1958, is about 45 minutes from Chicago.

MTD also spoke with four Chicago area dealers who are still waiting for their first installation. Hitesh Patel operates two Illinois stores, Naperville Auto Center in Naperville and Ultimate Automotive in Aurora. “Zero tires, no phone calls, no response, no one has come in with a printout from the website.” Patel says he was excited at the prospect of new customers from the Internet, but so far he has not seen any changes in business levels.

Mike Walton, a sales associate at the Auto Tech Centers Inc. reports no installations at the McHenry, Ill., store where he works. Auto Tech Centers, family owned and operated since 1985, also operates in Crystal Lake, Woodstock and Huntley.

John Martin, an assistant manager at Fast Tire, which is owned by Car-X Tire and Auto franchisee NONA Inc. in Champaign, Ill., told MTD that his store in Antioch, Ill., had not yet installed tires purchased through Goodyear’s website.

Butch Young, manager of the VIP Auto Tire and Service Corp’s store on Archer Ave. in Chicago, has not seen any installations either, but remains hopeful. “It works for Tire Rack, but that’s the only option customers have. It takes a while to catch on. It’s still early. Check back in a couple months to see if a fire has been lit.”

For a look at how Goodyear’s online sales process works for consumers, see “A quick cruise through goodyear.com.” For details on the program, see “Goodyear begins selling tires online in Chicago.”

Has the Goodyear online sales program been rolled out in your market? If yes, let us know what you think of it by leaving a comment!

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