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CTNA will focus on retail sales, Conti brand

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"Our strategy in the Americas is very consistent; it starts with the customer," Andreas Gerstenberger, CTNA executive vice president of sales and marketing, told dealers last week during the 2009 Continental Gold Dealer meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

"We want to increase our retail business." To that end, CTNA is ramping up its product offering, Gerstenberger told some 200-plus dealers.

"In 2006, we committed to introducing 500 replacement products. By the end of 2009, we will have introduced 732 new products," with 261 coming on-line this year.

Jim Sicking, director of independent dealer sales for CTNA, said the company will incentivize dealers to sell Continental brand products.

"Over the last year or two, we spent a lot of time and money revamping the General line. This year, we're revamping the Continental brand. You will have an opportunity to make a fair amount of money on the product."

Gold program members will benefit from enhanced promotions, cash back programs, and point-of-sale materials, including a new showroom display to promote the company's ExtremeContact tires, said Travis Roffler, CTNA director of marketing.

"We want to improve on what we're doing to help you drive sales. Obviously, the market has endured a lot of downside... we wanted to come back with an enthusiastic strategy."

Despite economic doldrums, the U.S. remains the "single biggest tire market on the planet," according to Gerstenberger. "That means if you want to grow, you have to take it away from somebody else. That's how we have designed our effort; they're pretty predatory."



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