A quick cruise through goodyear.com

May 7, 2015

MTD editors were wondering what the online purchasing experience was like for the newly launched goodyear.com. We took a test drive of the website, and here is what we found.

For research purposes, we chose the ZIP code 60629 for its central Chicago location and high population.

Our first target vehicle was a 2009 Ford Escape XLS with front-wheel drive owned by our Associate Editor Ann Neal. The tire size is P235/70R16 104 H.

When you enter the website, you can choose a tire based on:

* weather conditions – all-season or winter,

* type -- all-terrain, fuel efficient and sport performance

* and additional options – rebate offered and available online.

For the Ford Escape, we chose all-season, sport performance and available online.

The tire selected for us was the Goodyear Eagle RS-A at $227. The closest installer, VIP Auto Tire and Service Corp., was 2.3 miles away.

A Just Tires location was the second choice, 3 miles away. Third was Automasters Tire & Service Center (4.9 miles away), then Wilrae Inc. (5.7 miles away), and Goodyear / Interstate Auto Centers (6.5 miles away). All dealerships are Goodyear Tire & Service Network locations.

The VIP Auto Tire and Service Corp. listing did not offer us a “Get a Quote” button, nor did Wilrae Inc. The other three did.

When you hit Just Tires’ quote button, it warns you, “You’re about to leave goodyear.com to visit your local retailer’s site. Please note that the pricing you see on our site is specific to goodyear.com. Your local individual retailers set their own pricing.”

Just Tire’s pricing was $224.08. Basic road hazard protection was offered for $107.56 extra.

The total price for four tires was $975.32

4 x $224.08 = $896.32

4 x $19.75 installation fee = $79 (wheel balance, valve stems, tire disposal included).

Tire mount, shop suppliers and wheel alignment check are free, the site says.

The second vehicle we experimented with was Managing Editor Lori Mavrigian’s 2013 Kia Soul with a tire size of 195/65R15 91 H.

* weather conditions -- all-season, summer and winter,

* type -- fuel efficient and sport performance

*additional options -- rebate offered and available online

We chose summer and sport performance and available online. The site chose for us the Goodyear Excellence at a cost of $164.

To choose to buy the tires in store, the same locations came up. Just Tires’ price was $152.75 with basic road hazard protection for $73.32 extra.

Just Tires’ total price was $690:

4 x $152.75 = $611

4 x $19.75 installation fee = $79

Scheduling an appointment can be done with the click of a button. Other installers ask for additional contact information before the consumer can get a quote and an opportunity to schedule an appointment.

Butch Young, manager of the VIP Auto Tire and Service Corp. store on Archer Avenue in Chicago, says he did not consider not signing up when Goodyear announced plans to sell tires online. He was not surprised when Goodyear announced the program.

“They are putting in the installation program that Tire Rack and other competitors already offer.”

Young expects online tire sales from the Goodyear website to bring new customers to his six-bay shop, which offers retail and commercial tire sales as well as auto repair.  

“Looking at changes with the Internet and in people's shopping habits, we’re hoping to get 20% new customers who will use it.”

MTD will check back with Young in the coming weeks for his shop's experience with the program. 

At the recent 2015 Goodyear shareholder meeting in Akron, Ohio, Chairman and CEO Richard Kramer talked about Goodyear’s foray into online selling.

He said, "The preference for buying goods and services online -- often through mobile devices -- is being driven by a new generation of consumers. In the U.S. alone, 80 million millennials with $1 trillion in buying power are entering the market.

"By embracing digital technology to simplify the tire buying process -- and keeping our network of aligned dealers as an integral part of the process -- we believe we will be the industry leader in this space and with these new consumers.

Charles Darwin once said, “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.” The tire world is watching how successful Goodyear is with online selling. 

"While I'm not a proponent, it's just confirms that the every industry is becoming exponentially more competitive," a member of MTD's National Advisory Council told us. "I do believe some other manufacturers will sell directly, after the dust settles with Goodyear. Overall, I do not believe the impact will be that significant in the short term; however, the long-term impact could be different."