With an aim to provide dealers with the resources for whatever they encounter, Hercules Tires recently updated its dealer programs and released two all-terrain tires that are optimized for different performance capabilities amid a busy year for the brand.
Those two tires — the Terra Trac AT X-Journey for CUVs and the Terra Trac AT X-Venture for SUVs and light trucks — are just a few new products the brand has released this year, as it looks to better help dealers serve each customer that walks through the door.
“We feel that the market has matured, and customers are asking and demanding more from us,” says Steven Liu, senior director of proprietary brands for American Tire Distributors (ATD). “Our future vision is to have the right product for you — the right size and fitment — to go on the vehicle every time.”
Liu and Josh Simpson, senior vice president of proprietary brands for ATD, sat down with Tire Review to discuss the brand’s new products, tweaks to its dealer programs and new features it has added to equip dealers with education and product knowledge.
Splitting the A/T Segment
Liu says Hercules’ goal behind offering two A/T tires was to capture more market share in the light truck SUV segment while simultaneously giving more value to the customer.
“What we came to understand better is that there are two different consumer sets that we were trying to address in the A/T segment, and we shouldn’t make this work with one tire,” he says. “The birth of the two styles was a great challenge, and we were ready to take it on. When it comes to tire development and today’s modern vehicles, you want to make sure each tire is optimized for the performance capabilities of the targeted vehicles.”
That’s why the AT X-Venture has a design and treadwear to give SUVs and light trucks the power to handle off-road action and harsh winter weather among other elements, Hercules says. The AT X-Journey also offers a quiet, comfortable ride with enhanced wet traction and increased tread life, plus a three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMS) certification.
Both tires also have customized sidewalls, Liu says. This means that for each tire, one side has a different design than the other, which is a first for the Hercules brand. Liu says customized sidewalls allow drivers to make their vehicles stand out in a cost-effective way.
Combined, the AT-X Venture and AT-X Journey give Hercules more than 80% market coverage in the A/T tire segment. The brand also plans to expand its size offerings for the tires over the next few years based on demand. Currently, the tires come in 57 sizes combined ranging from 15- to 20-in. rim diameters. In the future, Liu says with growth in larger rim diameters in the light truck SUV segment, dealers can expect to see 20-in. rim sizes and over added to the lineup.
Enhanced Offerings for Commercial Dealers
For commercial, OTR and industrial tire dealers, Hercules has already ushered in big changes to its commercial dealer program with a goal of boosting participation and compliance.
First, the brand changed the name of the program from the Hercules Commercial Program (HCP) to the Hercules Flex Program (HFP). Program dealers have the potential to earn up to $20 per tire based on commitment level and product category instead of a percentage, as requested by its dealers, Liu says. In addition, the brand added a compliance advantage component, which allows dealers who are compliant with the HFP program to put even more money in their pocket.
“It’s been a great addition for us in 2021 and has been well-received,” says Liu. “On average, we have 20 new flex enrollments per month, and we’re seeing record-high compliance rates from dealers, which we’re excited about.”