A Dealer Guides Customers in HP/UHP Tire Search

April 16, 2024

With the internet and social media, information about high performance (HP)/ultra-high performance (UHP) tires and custom wheels is literally at the customer’s fingertips.   

That means, in many cases, customers are walking into tire dealerships with more knowledge than ever.   

However, they still want dealers to guide and help them make the right purchase. This requires HP/UHP tire dealers to be confident and knowledgeable about not just the products they are selling, but the installation of those products. 

Chad Dearth, owner of KC Trends Motorsports, which is based in Overland Park, Kan., has an extensive showroom at his dealership that places a lot of focus on displaying custom wheels.  

Dearth says he has more than 1,000 wheels on display, but fewer tires.

“With e-commerce being as big as it is, people can see wheels anywhere. They can look at them on Instagram or on another website, but seeing and feeling and touching something you’re about to purchase with that much money really puts people over the top.”  

Most of the tires on display at KC Trends Motorsports are off-road light truck tires. “Our off-road buyers want to kick it, feel it and see the tread and sidewall differences,” while other customers “usually buy off (our) recommendations.  

“At the end of the day, it’s our recommendation and our knowledge, mixed in with what they came in with their heart set on or what their research led them to,” says Dearth.  

“Normally with higher-end cars, price really isn’t a factor when it comes to making the decision on what to buy. A customer may not be happy about the price, but they kind of know that when they buy a six-figure car they will be spending some money on tires.”  

One of the worst things an HP/UHP tire dealer can do is not tell customers the price of a new set of tires and wheels right away, according to Dearth.

“We’ve had some (employees) who couldn’t get themselves to tell the customer” the price of an expensive tire and wheel combination. “But that’s what the customer needs to hear.”  

He believes that this reluctance to discuss price can be a hurdle for tire dealerships that are not HP/UHP tire-driven and aren’t used to making more expensive sales. “It can be an adjustment.”  

If a customer can’t afford an expensive set, Dearth says he will go down to the next price level. It takes confidence in your product to do that, he adds.  

Dearth also notes it’s important to have the correct equipment for handling HP and UHP tires. Expensive tires will be put on expensive wheels, he explains.   

“The equipment you use to mount and demount these tires is very important (to prevent) damage that could occur. You don’t want to be the guy causing damage to someone’s really expensive wheels because you don’t have the right equipment or a properly trained technician.”  

KC Trends Motorports relies heavily on social media to market itself. About two years ago, the dealership’s TikTok page “absolutely exploded,” says Dearth.  

“We don’t do (traditional) content. We just do quirky things,” like walking around the shop, recording himself asking technicians what kind of car they drive, their favorite wheel or what they’re working on.

“That kind of social engagement triggers people a whole lot more than just us posting photos of a tire or wheel and saying, ‘Come buy it.’” 

About the Author

Madison Gehring | Associate Editor

Madison Gehring is Modern Tire Dealer's associate editor. A graduate of Ohio State University, Gehring holds a bachelors degree in journalism. During her time at Ohio State, she wrote for the university's student-run newspaper, The Lantern, and interned at CityScene Media Group in Columbus, Ohio.