Aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, 640 tire dealers, their guests and Continental Tire the Americas staff took to the sea for the 2017 Gold Dealer Meeting.
This year 334 Elite Gold Dealers, including 67 new dealers, qualified for the annual Gold Dealer trip by selling more than 2,000 units in 2016. The five-day cruise left Miami on March 26 and featured stops in Nassau, Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico.
During the meeting the tiremaker focused on adding more value through four key areas: value proposition, people, partnership and strong product performance/portfolio.
“We want to make sure we are adding value and supporting your business every day,” said Bill Caldwell, vice president of sales and marketing, Continental Tire the Americas.
“We always want to make sure with our products, with our pricing, with our programs that we are creating a value proposition that is compelling for the end consumer but also compelling for you,” Caldwell adds.
This year Conti is changing up its Gold Program and investing an additional $4 million to the 2017 Volume Bonus Payouts. With this change Gold Dealers who sell 3,500 plus units will have access to $24,000 in volume bonus, more than double the amount a dealer selling 2,000 units in 2017 could earn.
Conti said it is also bringing additional value through its people. The tiremaker is investing in training its sales team to properly serve the dealer and making sure the company has good relationships with dealer customers. Continental’s Gold Dealer call volume was up 12.6% last year.
Strategic marketing partnerships is also a focus for the tiremaker, in order to grow the brand awareness for ease of selling and move consumers to the website to locate a Continental dealer.
“Everything we do is attempting to drive consumers over to our site to find you,”
said Travis Roffler, Conti director of marketing.
Continental will continue to work with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and recently signed a multi-year agreement as exclusive tire supplier for the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda in 2017. Additionally, Continental will sponsor 32 college basketball teams in 2017 and the tiremaker renewed its partnership with Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer through 2022. Both college basketball and soccer partnerships are highlighted in commercials from Continental.
General Tire sponsorships include Lucas Oil, ARCA, angler partnerships and Major League Fishing.
In order to provide dealers product performance, Caldwell said Conti is committed to refreshing products for better size coverage, niche sizes and expanding its portfolio into new segments.
This year the tiremaker is launching four new tires to address some of these areas of product performance.
In February Conti launched the Continental brand ExtremeContact Sport, which offers enthusiast drivers an all-season UHP tire. Replacing the ExtremeContact DW, the tire offers with dry and wet performance, without sacrificing street manners. The tire is currently available in 71 sizes for sport, luxury sport and muscle cars, covering 80% of the market.
The tire was designed with the help of five International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) drivers who tested the tire throughout its development.
For service van fleets and light trucks, Conti’s General brand is launching the new Grabber HD on April 3. The Grabber HD features Conti’s Duragen technology for cut/chip resistance and extended tread life, strong shoulders and a new sidewall curb guard to protect the sidewall from being damaged my curbs. The tire will be available in 8 LT-metric sizes and 3 van sizes.
Replacing the G-Max AS-03, the G-Max AS-05 is a UHP all-season tire from the General brand that has been updated with an asymmetric tread pattern and improvements in noise and irregular wear. Featuring SmartGrip technology, the tire offers sporty handling and all-season grip in dry, wet, and snowy conditions. Additionally StabiliTread technology extends tread life and Smart Monitors alert drivers to check alignment and replace tires with visual indicators on the tire, the tiremaker adds.
The G-Max AS-05 launches in May and will be available in 54 sizes for sports cars and sporty vehicles, covering 90% of the market.
AltiMax Arctic 12
For the winter months, Continental has introduced the General AltiMax Arctic 12. The studdable winter tire replaces the AltiMax Arctic with improved tread life and snow and ice traction, Conti said. Conti is taking orders now and the tires will be delivered to dealers in July.
The AltiMax Arctic 12 will be available in 47 sizes and joins the Grabber Arctic and Grabber Arctic LT to create a winter tire power family of 72 sizes and 80% market coverage.
Look for more on the Continental Gold Dealer Meeting in an upcoming issue of Tire Review.