Continental reveals plans, products on dealer trip
Now in its 10th year, the Continental Tire Gold associate dealer program continues to have features added to it. A Continental automotive credit card for Gold dealers and a “Total Confidence Plan” were announced during the annual Continental Tire the Americas LLC Gold dealer trip for dealers who achieved elite status.
National Programs Manager Chris Jenkins told dealers the credit card is designed to help them generate more repeat sales. The card allows dealers to have their company name imprinted on it to remind consumers where they received the card. Car Care One is administering the credit card program.
For the first time, Gold dealers will have flat tire roadside assistance as part of their sales package. Jenkins told dealers this new addition has been woven into a “Total Confidence Plan” that the company plans to promote to consumers.
The Total Confidence Plan consists of:
- Three year complimentary flat change or towing up to 150 miles at no charge;
- Continental’s 60-day customer satisfaction trial;
- Limited product warranty;
- Mileage warranty;
- Road hazard coverage.
In addition to the new program features for Gold dealers, Continental highlighted its four new products. Joe Maher, product manager, told dealers that the new ExtremeContact DWS06 is replacing its ExtremeContact (see product details at this link.)
The company also has introduced its WinterContact SI and its General Grabber Arctic LT that will both be available for the upcoming winter tire season (see product details at this link.)
A new General Grabber HTS60 for light truck applications will be introduced this fall. It will replace the Grabber HTS. Maher told dealers the tire will come in 50 metric and 12 light truck sizes and is designed to show significant improvement in wear while keeping similar dry, wet, snow and comfort parameters compared to the Grabber HTS.
Bill Caldwell, vice president of sales and marketing, said 304 Gold dealers achieved elite status and in total, Gold dealer program tire sales grew 18% compared to industry growth of just 5%. He pointed out that the company increased its fill rate to 80% during the second half of 2014, a number that he said is “best-in-class.”
Continental currently supplies one in three OE tire fitments in Europe and one in six in North America. Caldwell said while the company wants to continue to grow at OE, they need to do so responsibly so as to not interrupt its replacement business. Further, Caldwell said they are now being sourced at OE for upscale and luxury fitments, whereas 10 years ago, they were base fitments for vehicles.
Travis Roffler, director of marketing, said the company has invested heavily in NCAA basketball this year. Continental sponsored 21 different NCAA college basketball programs. “We made a commitment to a multi-million dollar, multi-year investment in college basketball.” Roffler said the company will only invest in programs where they will be the only tire sponsor.
The company is continuing its soccer and racing sponsorship and advertising programs, said Roffler.
Continental has developed a new website that is designed to help consumers find a tire and then direct them to “your store,” he told dealers. Roffler said the site does not have anything to do with retailing tires directly to the consumer. He noted that the site is very mobile friendly, reflecting the high amount of consumers (83%, according to Roffler) who use a mobile device when shopping.