Ludwig: Get creative to counter sticker shock

Sept. 26, 2011

"Uncertain European economies, the U.S. debt crisis, Congressional gridlock, 9.2% unemployment and a slumping stock market are enough to explain why consumers are putting off big ticket purchases as long as possible," says tire industry analyst Saul Ludwig in the latest installment of the "Ludwig Report" in Modern Tire Dealer magazine. "Add to that, a $1,000 bill for four tires, alignment and a few other suggested repairs further shocks your customers.

"I just vacationed at the Chautauqua Institution located in southwest New York (see," Ludwig continues. "Chautauqua is a very unique place where lectures, concerts, religion, entertainment, kid’s activities and sports abound. There’s something for everybody.

"The lectures this week were on creativity and innovation and they really resonated with me as I thought about the challenges now facing tire dealers. What you may need is a heavy dose of creativity to help increase your business.

"I suggest holding business creativity sessions with your entire team," Ludwig suggests. "Maybe it is renovations in your shops, maybe it’s clever bartering with other businesses or maybe it is new packages (bundling) of tires and services. Challenge your own team — you may be surprised with what they come up with."

Ludwig is a managing director with Northcoast Research Holdings LLC based in Cleveland, Ohio. He concentrates on the tire and chemical industries. Look for the full "Ludwig Report" in each issue of Modern Tire Dealer magazine.