The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company hosted its annual Dealer Conference virtually on Monday centered around the theme of “Driving Forward” amid a year of unprecedented challenges.
Despite the hurdles that fell into Goodyear’s path, the company reassured dealers that it is providing the products and programs to help them succeed, including three new all-terrain products Goodyear will release in 2021.
Scott Rogers, president, North America consumer tires, told dealers that during the pandemic, Goodyear has been able to adapt to challenges while staying true to its product roadmap and strategy. One of those challenges was a tweet from President Donald Trump urging for a ban of Goodyear tires that went viral; another was the temporary suspension of live sports, during which Goodyear’s blimps were grounded. As a result, the company invested in new platforms to meet consumers where they already were with advertising on channels such as Hulu, Good Morning America and National Geographic.
“Despite these challenges, our latest consumer brand study shows the equity we built up in our brand health continues to be strong. Goodyear remains No. 1 in key brand metrics,” Rogers says. “We’re the brand consumers are most likely to buy, and we intend to keep it that way. This is a positive reflection on both Goodyear and you as a clear extension of our brand.”
Mike Dwyer, chief customer officer, North America Consumer, presented the three new tires in the all-terrain segment that Goodyear will release in 2021. Those tires are part of Goodyear’s new Wrangler Workhorse Powerline and include:
- The Wrangler Workhorse HT: This tire features a long-wearing tread compound and is backed with a 60,000-mile treadwear limited warranty, providing long, dependable tread life and traction, the company says.
- The Wrangler Workhorse AT: An all-terrain tire with a 50,000-mile treadwear limited warranty, the Workhorse AT delivers strong traction on and off road, enabling drivers to access remote job sites, Goodyear says.
- The Wrangler Workhorse RT: Offering durable off-road performance with excellent traction, the Wrangler Workhorse RT is chip-chunk resistant and pinned for optional studs, the company says. Backed with a 40,000-mile treadwear limited warranty, the tire allows drivers to travel on highways, in cities or off road.
“With the addition of these new all-terrain tires to Goodyear’s product portfolio, I’m proud to say Goodyear is outpacing its competition in our efforts to build a product screen focused on superior performance that is unmatched in the market.”
The Wrangler Workhorse AT and RT feature the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake designation and offer enhanced traction in the harsh winter conditions, Goodyear says.
Dwyer says the Wrangler Workforce Powerline was designed to simplify dealers’ product screens in the mid-tier and is targeted for consumers and small business fleets. It is expected to launch in the third quarter of 2021. The portfolio will initially include 70 sizes, covering 15- to 22-inch rim diameters for highway, all-terrain and rough-terrain applications. An additional 22 sizes will be available in 2022.
To enhance the line, Dwyer says C-type sizes, including size 235/65/R16C, will be added to meet the growing transit vehicle market. He says the company will also reduce some products to streamline and simplify its portfolio with the launch of the new tires.
Dwyer also notes that 2021 will see the launch of the Assurance Comfort Drive, a tire for passenger cars, minivans, CUVs and SUVs. Its launch was delayed due to COVID-19, but the company will begin to roll it out to its retail partners in February 2021.
It’s no secret that tire manufacturers have been subject to supply constraints as manufacturing facilities opened in Q2 with COVID-19 restrictions. Both Rogers and Dwyer say Goodyear is investing in its plants to deliver better service in the coming months.
“We are actively managing the challenge by strategically investing in our plants to produce more of the tires you need and take real time actions to offset gaps, such as cross-streaming and an aggressive substitution program” Dwyer explains. “Because of these efforts, and despite a challenging and unpredictable year, we believe our business is even stronger and poised for growth.”
In a year when OE manufacturers suspended operations, meaning less OE fitments in the market, Rogers says Goodyear was able to secure premium placements, including its Territory M/T tires on the new Ford Bronco.
Goodyear tires will also come OE on the new GMC Hummer electric vehicle, which goes into production next year, as well as the 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 TRX and the 2022 Volkswagen Taos. This past year, Goodyear secured OE fitments on the Tesla Model Y and next-generation Ford F-150.
“These wins are due in part to our continued focus in developing leading technology,” Rogers says. “That’s why we remain the No. 1 supplier on full- size trucks and why our tires are on five of the top 10 best-selling vehicles—and why we’re winning key fitments for the future.”
Promotions and Dealer Programs
With COVID-19 causing a demand shock in the tire industry, “it became more competitive than ever to capture consumers who are in the market for tires,” Rogers says. To do this, Goodyear adjusted its promotions and programs.
“When much of the economy shut down, we saw that consumers shifted more of their shopping to online with our e-commerce platform, and we were well established to capture demand among those shopping for tires online, sending more business to you, our aligned dealer network.”
Rogers says the company bolstered its investment in paid search and digital advertising, including on social media. From April to September, searches in Goodyear’s dealer locator grew by 230%.
Dwyer adds that the company is also making its “most significant investment in product advertising in years” by expanding its advertising reach into Canadian and Hispanic markets with both French and Spanish dedicated TV and digital ads.
In addition, Dwyer reported on the Goodyear Tire & Service Network’s Rewards Program, noting that dealers who were part of the network earn 29% more and sell out more tires per day than non-members, according to the company.
“I hope you see that we haven’t been sitting back throughout the pandemic. We have been front-footed in our interactions to keep driving your and our business forward,” Dwyer says. “Despite the obstacles, we’re best positioning us for today and in the future. That’s what driving forward means.”