Goodyear dealers won’t be gathering in Orlando in early 2021 as originally planned, so this week Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is hosting an online virtual conference to unveil its newest products to the marketplace, including a new line of all-terrain tires.
Mike Dwyer, leader of Goodyear’s consumer tire sales in North America, said, “In 2021 it’s time to turn our attention to the all-terrain segment of the product screen Goodyear has led for years.”
The Wrangler Workhorse Powerline will feature three new tires designed for consumers, as well as small business fleets that need both on- and off-road capabilities. And the line is targeted for the middle of the pricepoint, Dwyer said.
The Workhorse HT tire is for those driving on local roads and highways and looking for dependable highway traction. The tire comes with a 60,000 mile limited warranty.
The Workhorse AT tire offers strong traction both on and off the road, with a 50,000 mile limited treadwear warranty.
The Workhorse RT is for drivers on the most remote roads and roughest terrains, and it’s specifically made with both consumers and business-to-business customers in mind, such as landscapers, plumbers and construction workers. It comes with a 40,000 mile limited treadwear warranty.
Both the Wrangler Workhorse AT and RT tires come with the 3-Peak mountain snowflake symbol. Dwyer said that answers a specific need dealers had identified in the marketplace — a mid-tier product with the 3-Peak mountain snowflake designation.
All three tires are set to launch in the third quarter of 2021 with 70 sizes for wheels from 15-inches to 22-inches. Another 22 sizes are scheduled to hit the market in 2022.
Dwyer didn’t specify what existing AT tires might disappear from its lineup, but said Goodyear would “reduce some redundant products to streamline the portfolio.”
In the consumer market, 2021 will also see the launch of a tire that was originally scheduled for 2020.
The Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive, a premium commuter touring tire, was unveiled at the previous Goodyear customer conference held in February 2020 in Denver. It was supposed to enter the market in September.
Dwyer said, “While we had to delay the launch due to COVID-19, it will roll out in February 2021.”
As a result of COVID-19 and the shutdowns that followed, Scott Rogers, president of Goodyear’s consumer business in North America, said the tiremaker had to react with its marketing, especially since the tiremaker relies so heavily on its tie to live sports and most of those events were canceled.
All three of the Goodyear blimps were grounded, and the company needed to keep its brand front and center, he said.
So, the company pivoted to meet consumers where they were spending time - on social media, streaming services, and their second screens. Among the targets has been Hulu, Good Morning America and National Geographic. The result, Rogers said, is Goodyear is “reaching a larger audience of potential tire buyers” and driving them to dealers’ stores.
As consumers turned online for more of their shopping needs in several categories, their tire searches and shopping followed suit. Rogers said the virus “caused a demand shock to our industry, (and) it became more competitive than ever to capture consumers who were in the market for tires.”
In the second quarter Goodyear saw a double digit increase in tire installations at its dealers’ stores through sales at goodyear.com. And the company is “outpacing” the normal number of referrals from its website to its dealers, he said.
Dwyer said Goodyear continues to work on its media mix. The tiremaker has tested several approaches to see what drive consumer engagement, including warranties, consumer reviews, star ratings and specific tire features. He said Goodyear is “looking to see which resonates most with consumers in each product category” and then it will integrate those results into its media mix.
One more big effort is in connecting with customers in Canada and Mexico. Dwyer said Goodyear will be making its “most significant investment” in expanding its reach into those markets with advertising in both French and Spanish.
“I hope you see we haven’t been sitting back through the pandemic,” Dwyer said.