Newest Kid in Town
Michelin/TCI Launches National Dealer/Distribution Program
Last February at the Global Automotive Symposium in Detroit, Michelin North America Chairman Jim Micali observed that the basic retail tire buying experience has changed very little over the past 100 years the customer comes in, picks out tires, and sits around for an eternity waiting for installation.
The company, Micali noted, that finds a way to enhance or even change the tire buying experience will win and hold the hearts of consumers.
Now Michelin’s own Tire Centers Inc. unit is tackling that very issue with the introduction of its new TCI T3 Certified Tire Centers. Launched in October, TCI T3 is a “full-service distribution and marketing business partnership program” for tire dealers, according to the company.
The comprehensive program includes tire products Michelin, Uniroyal, BFGoodrich, Continental, and General, as well as its Trivant private brand ®“ POS materials, training, store design, extensive marketing and advertising, signage, credit card, national accounts program, Web site links, business and benefit insurance, and a national service warranty.
The program gives members complete access to all Michelin, Uniroyal, BFGoodrich, General and Continental passenger, performance and light truck/SUV lines to meet every price, size or application need. And the new Trivant private label line, exclusive to TCI T3 stores, adds another passenger, performance and light truck/SUV option.
“It’s a fact that consumers are looking for a better retail tire purchasing experience,” said Dave Snyder, vice president of TCI, echoing Micali’s point. ®They want more choices, better value and higher quality service. We will invest in each customer with the aim of building a solid base of loyal repeat customers.®
According to TCI, one of the program’s keys is in sales training. “Our extensive training program will ensure that the TCI T3 Certified Tire Centers experience is consistent throughout the country, and that dealers maintain the absolute highest quality standards,” said Snyder.
“We want to help independent tire dealers develop more profitable customer growth and loyalty,” he said. ®Our aim is simple: we want to offer a world class distribution program that is second to none.®
The T3 store identity system, developed by TCI, includes multiple signage options and recommended store layouts. Member dealers remain integral to the identification of each T3 store, and the dealership’s name will remain prevalent. And each member dealer will have their own Web site link through the TCI T3 Web site’s dealer locator feature.
As Snyder explained, the new TCI T3 program allows dealers to be part of a larger national group, with the added purchasing clout, name brand tire products and name recognition that will give them an advantage.
Since October, TCI has been actively soliciting dealers to join the program both existing Michelin Americas Small Tire (MAST) dealers and non-MAST dealers alike. The program was to have been introduced to all targeted dealers by the end of October.®′