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Cover Story - March 2015

‘Counter culture’

By: Wayne Williams

Have you noticed that companies with excellent reputations serve up excellent customer experiences at the point of sale? As an example, when waiting in line to purchase a cup of coffee from Starbucks, you are likely to hear a barista say, “What can we get started for you?”

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Free vehicle inspections can be followed up with offers of car care packages that often convert shoppers to paying customers.

Want to grow your business this spring? Try giving away a service

Commitment-free vehicle inspections give tire dealers a chance to market their services to prospects who come into their stores. Many consumers delay or avoid preventive maintenance. A free inspection can motivate a driver to take a vehicle to a shop to see what’s needed to prepare a vehicle for warm weather driving after a harsh winter.

Tire technician Tyler Helmig balances a tire at Jost Tire Co. The small-town Missouri dealership says it stocks as many tires as dealers in St. Louis.

An economy for light truck tires

The economy is giving the green light to light truck tire sales. Pickup trucks are the most popular new vehicles sold in the U.S., and a majority of the fastest-selling used vehicles are trucks and SUVs. Lower gas prices are helping Americans fall back in love with bigger, less fuel efficient rides.

Already sold in Russia and Japan, the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 winter tire is coming to SUVs, CUVs and light trucks in North America for next season. Dealers can begin ordering the tire this month and receive shipments as early as July, Bridgestone says.

50 sizes of Blizzak

Bridgestone Americas Inc. is manufacturing a winter tire for your procrastinating customer. The customer who doesn’t think to replace worn windshield wipers until a monsoon hits likely waits to see snowflakes fly before purchasing winter tires. The new Blizzak DM-V2 tire is for them.

Greg Olsen (center), an All-Pro tight end for the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers, addressed dealers at Hankook’s annual Partner’s Day. He is pictured with Hankook executives Shawn Denlein (left), senior vice president of sales, and Hee-se Ahn, president.

Hankook introduces 2 tires

Hankook Tire America Corp. used its annual Partner’s Day meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to unveil the 2015 launch dates of two Hankook passenger tires for the North American market.

Clay Egan, finance manager at Tire Zone Tire Factory in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a professional rock crawler, testified to the power of attitude in a motivational presentation. (From left): Ed Tuck III, owner of Tire Center Inc. which does business as T&T Tire Factory in Tacoma, Wash.; Clint Young, Tire Factory director of sales; Kelly Edwards, owner of Edwards Automotive, which does business as Tire Zone Tire Factory; Egan and John Kreidel, Tire Factory CEO.

Tire Factory signals a change in strategy

Tire Factory Inc. added tire brands, unveiled digital marketing technology and distributed $3.8 million in profits and volume purchase bonuses at its annual dealer meeting in Portland, Ore., Feb. 20-22, 2015. The cooperative’s management team also signaled the need for a change in strategic direction to its members.

K&M dealer Ron Rainsberg Jr. of Tiremaxx in Toledo, Ohio, and his wife, Teri, won a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon presented by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

K&M goes south to meet new dealers

K&M Tire Inc. doesn’t expect to continue its rapid growth of the last few years, but that’s just fine for the leaders of this family-owned tire wholesaler.

(From left): Greg Smith, MTD publisher, hosted the tire manufacturers’ panel consisting of: Aaron Murphy, vice president of CMA LLC; John Boysen, industrial products manager for Yokohama OTR; Taylor Cole, president of Commercial OTR for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC; and Shawn Rasey, president of BKT Tires Inc. The panel drew the biggest laugh of the event when they all responded with the same one word answer to the question, “Do you expect to see any shortages in a particular size or type of tire in the next 12 months?” The answer was, “No.”

OTR market conditions

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) Off-the-Road Tire Conference has long served as a valuable venue for learning not only about what’s happening in the OTR marketplace, but also about the overall economic health of many different industries.

The Kelly Edge powerline will reach 89% of its targeted market segment, a greater percentage than the previous Kelly product line.

Goodyear tells dealers it will sell tires online

There were many “takeaways” from the recent 2015 Goodyear Dealer Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. Two of the more newsworthy were the announcement that Goodyear would soon be selling tires on, and the introduction of a low-cost radial manufactured in the U.S.

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