Amigo Tires Says Personal Touch Sells HP/UHP Tires

March 1, 2024

Amigo Tires, a seven-store dealership in Las Vegas, Nev., is doing brisk business selling high performance (HP) tires, ultra-high performance (UHP) tires and custom wheels, while making friends and winning new customers along the way.

The company’s tagline — “At Amigo Tires, we’re your amigos” — is more than just a slogan, according to Karla Enriquez, the dealership’s marketing manager.

“We want customers to get to know our staff to form the relationships” that keep clients coming back to the dealership.

This focus on cultivating a personal connection with customers is a key piece of Amigo Tires’ long-term strategy — especially as more cars roll into the dealership’s stores on high performance, low-profile tires, says Mario Cota, the company’s general manager.

“Selling HP tires is a must because everything (comes) with them,” he says, adding that “15-inch and 16-inch tires seem to be going away” both at the factory level and in the replacement channel.

That doesn’t mean that the average customer is always aware of the dimensions of their vehicles’ original equipment tires, which can lead to sticker shock at first replacement, adds Cota. “We try to educate our customers.”

Cota estimates that 80% of Amigo Tires’ broadline tire customers rely on the dealership’s sales team for advice.

HP and UHP tire customers can be more exacting, he says. “They come in and generally know what they want. They’ve done their research and they’re invested. These customers want facts and details.

“We don’t want to steer them away from the research they’ve done. We guide them. We try to comply” with their preferences “and see what the best tire for their category is.

“If they ask, ‘What do you think?’ we’ll show them what’s equivalent to the tire they’ve researched and see if they want to consider something else.”

If customers are open to other options, “we’ll find another tire that meets their expectations.”

The idea is to provide expert advice while letting the customer control the buying process, says Cota.

“We want to move with their flow. Anybody can push a set of tires. But when (customers) make the choice, they own it. The last thing you want is for someone to say, ‘They pushed this product on me.’”

The same idea applies to selling custom wheels and those sales make up a significant portion of Amigo Tires’ revenue, says Cota. (The dealership also provides auto repair service.)

He believes wheel customers come “from a different world” than the average tire buyer, particularly in the Las Vegas market.

He describes Las Vegas as a “see-and-buy city. Customers want to see it, touch it and buy it. You show them a picture of a wheel online and they won’t necessarily fall in love with that wheel.”

Examining wheels up close — with an expert nearby — usually leads to a more profitable outcome, he says.

“When we sell wheels, we want to be there with them. We’ll sometimes show them three or four sets and then they pick what they want.”

Amigo Tires stocks thousands of wheels at its main store. The dealership’s other locations keep a higher-than-average number of units on hand.

“That’s something a lot of people don’t do anymore. When we sell a set, we replace a set,” taking painstaking measures to stay current with ever-changing designs and styles.

Welcome guests

Amigo Tires — which was founded by its owner, Enrique Bulnaro, in 2015 — also tries to differentiate itself in other ways. That includes maintaining a robust social media presence, which Enriquez manages.

“We mainly rely on Instagram and TikTok. Short form videos posted on (both channels) are important” and help introduce the dealership and its personnel to new customers.

Two of Amigo Tires’ stores are open round-the-clock and cater to customers who work second and third shift.

“Vegas is a 24/7 city,” says Cota. “People getting off work at 10 or 11 p.m. have a to-do list, as well.”

Cota cites speedy service as another Amigo Tires advantage. “We’re known for being very fast. We try to make oil changes and tire repairs fast services. People don’t want to wait hours for that stuff.

“Even tires — we don’t take more than 30 or 40 minutes to install them. We get competitors who will send people our way, saying ‘Go see Amigo. They’ll get you in and out.’”

Customers appreciate it when you place a high premium on their time, he says.

This includes professional athletes and other celebrities, which Las Vegas attracts.

Several years ago, Cota recalls, a member of boxer Mike Tyson’s entourage bought an expensive set of tires and wheels for one of Tyson’s vehicles at an Amigo Tires store.

The next day, Tyson came to the store and personally thanked its employees. “He was very happy with our service,” says Cota.

“It’s all about listening to the customer and knowing your stuff. These are people’s lives in your hands and you want to gain their trust.

“It’s all how you treat them. Do they feel like a guest? Do they feel that you appreciate the fact they’ve chosen you? A lot of our customers can go elsewhere and save money, but they like how we treat them.”

About the Author

Mike Manges | Editor

Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s editor. A 25-year tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward. Before rejoining MTD in September 2019, he held corporate communications positions at two Fortune 500 companies and served as MTD’s senior editor from 2000 to 2010.