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Goodyear’s 4×4 Accreditation Programme Driven By Market Needs

(Douglasdale, South Africa/S.A. Treads) What with tourism opening up, and SUVs becoming widely sought after, the 4×4 tyre market in South Africa is growing at unprecedented levels.

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SUVs not only offer extra space and enhanced security due to their height and design, they represent a growing lifestyle in this country.

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Having taken cognizance of these trends and the fact that the consumer profile was changing, Goodyear was one of the first new tyre makers to conceive and establish a dedicated 4×4 Accreditation Programme, aimed at providing its dealers with first-hand knowledge and experience in this product category.

The Programme – which has been running for three years – has already provided more than 50 dealers the opportunity to personally experience the features and benefits of Goodyear’s extensive range of 4×4 tyres at the 4×4 Freedom Academy situated at Klipbokkop in the Western Cape.

Klipbokkop has served as the ideal learning platform. The facility – run by Gerhard and Elmarie Groenewald of Eco-Challenge fame, is well established and offers a multitude of challenging off-road conditions for delegates to navigate, among them, soft sand and steep, rocky terrain.

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The thinking behind this innovative brand driven initiative, was to enable dealers to promote and sell the Goodyear 4×4 tyre range to end users, having tested it for themselves. Equally, they would be properly equipped to advise on critical issues like correct tyre pressures and fitting the correct tyre for the application.

“The Training Programme proved invaluable and instilled new confidence in the product and in my ability to sell it,” commented Hennie Vosloo – owner of seven Hi-Q accredited stores in Kwazulu-Natal. “Accreditation further involved bringing our stores up to spec with respect to equipment capabilities, practical and theoretical training and the compliance to certain standards, a worthwhile exercise that now enables us to flaunt our new status in all our advertising campaigns as fully accredited specialists in 4×4, high performance and run-on-flats,” said Vosloo.

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Dealers are required to meet stringent qualifying criteria before they can be admitted into the Accreditation Programme, a factor that rather than being seen as prohibitive, acts as an incentive for an increasing number of Goodyear affiliated stores to aspire to.

Once they qualify, the official 4×4 Accreditation Logo is included into the corporate image of their shops. “This has assisted us in cementing the perception in the consumer’s mind that Goodyear and the Hi-Q franchise of stores are connected,” added Vosloo.

“Not only was the training comprehensive, it provided us with an opportunity to witness just what these 4×4 vehicles and tyres are capable of,” echoed Joel Back of HiQ Woodmead. “Suffice it to say, I now understand the capabilities of a 4×4 tyre in a way I never understood it before,” he said.

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In contrast to passenger tyres, tyres constructed for the 4×4 market have a more robust bead construction with emphasis on seating on the rim to prevent the tyre coming off the rim when deflated for severe sand driving. The sidewall contains more casing (body) plies than a passenger tyre for better protection against cuts, penetrations and bruising and the tread boasts a heavier belt construction, also to prevent penetrations. Moreover, the tread depth is deeper and generally more aggressive for off-road traction.

Guidelines:
On-road driving – 80/20on/off
On/Off driving – 50/50on/off
Off-road driving – 20/80on/off
*Luxury SUVs that have increased speed ratings require lighter tyres, which could mean some of its off-road capabilities are sacrificed.

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It is important for drivers of high-value purchases like SUVs that a tyre store reflects the appropriate image and displays the right level of skills – yet another reason why Goodyear chose to invest in a premium Accreditation Programme, who say 4×4 customers deserve the peace of mind of knowing their tyre needs are being attended to by experienced personnel.

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