Ask and You Shall… - Tire Review Magazine

Ask and You Shall…

A few days ago I posted the following question to the members of Tire Review’s LinkedIn Group:

“Giventhe lack of cohesive industry leadership on this issue, what do YOUthink should or could be done to significantly improve direct educationof consumers on tire purchasing and maintenance? And who should takeleadership on this issue?”

Here are some of the replies received (names removed by me):

Comment:“There have been attempts made for decades to inform and educateconsumers about tire purchasing and maintenance by industry groups andmanufacturers – none of them successful. Until you can get tire buyersto read the literature that is supplied (which they don’t) and untilsome organization can persuade them that it is in their own intereststo buy the proper tires and maintain them (which they won’t) we won’tsee an improvement in this area. The best way to handle this would befor the tire dealer to give the buyer a short talk on the tire thatshould be purchased and how it should be maintained. A separate staffmember should be assigned this responsibility because of the busynature of the tire business. I have bought many sets of tires and havenever received any recommendations from the dealer. "Tire qualitygrading" and "rolling resistance" are just a bunch of gobbledygook toconsumers. They couldn’t care less about these technical terms.”

Comment:“To start with, there should be an industry accepted grading scale thatdefines accuracy far beyond that of the traditional UTQG; amanufacturer graded stamp. Look at the development of "lower rollingresistance tire grading" that would be identified on the tire sticker.This is a step towards providing the consumer an empirical data setthat sustains reality, technology and trust. This could include auser-friendly tire age stamp aside from the DOT stamp on the tiresidewall that is a foreign language to 95% of consumers. Even thoughthe DOT stamp was not developed for consumer education, it does providea strong selling point when discussing the age factor with them.

“Unfortunately,the Tire Age Bill in CA was tossed out recently. I understand thedisadvantages of the proposal; however if we want consumers to startdecreasing their negative impression and attitudes of the auto servicebusiness, we need to take a stand and introduce a strongeraccountability factor on the businesses that are continuing to taintour industry through undue selling practices.

“Leadership ofthe above recommendations would have to come from names that consumersknow. A joint marketing launch between the RMA, TIA and some majorbrand manufacturers would be a solid start. Consumers do not know theRMA and TIA, thus the reason to pair them up with some major players.

“Maintenanceguidelines are already in place from the tire manufacturers. Theproblem is the manual/brochure they are provided is overwhelming andconfusing due to its excessive legal exclusions and limitations. Thisis where the business needs to sell their service and expertise; theultimate goal of success. If you have dynamic customer service andexpertise – you have a stand-out financial statement.”

Comment:“Dealers have the most direct contact with customers and should furthertake on the responsibility of educating consumers about tirepurchasing, safety information, and the importance of proper tiremaintenance. Backed by better POS tools from the major manufacturers,the people behind the counter could educate when physically inspectingtires WITH the customer prior to the actual sale AND across the counterafter the sale. Literature, air gauges, and tread depth gauges wouldallow dealers to educate the consumers, which will allow the consumerto make a more informed purchasing decision.”

If you have comments to share, send to me at [email protected].

– Jim Smith

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