WARREN, Mich.-The Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors Corp. will include tires under its comprehensive four years or 50,000 miles Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty coverage, commencing with its 1995 models. Why? ``Because Cadillac owners expect a little bit more,'' said a spokesman. Caddy owners will no longer have to go to a local tire dealership for tire warranty-related service, but instead can deal directly with the Cadillac dealer from whom they purchased their car.
It also eliminates the proration component of the tire manufacturer's new-tire warranty.
Goodyear and Michelin Americas Small Tires are affected by the revised tire warranty.
The Cadillac Seville STS and Eldorado Touring Coupe models come with Goodyear Eagle GA radials as original equipment; the DeVille Concours is shod with Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires. Michelin's XW4 radials are specified for the Seville Luxury Sedan, Eldorado, DeVille and Fleetwood.
However, Cadillac sees no loss of tire-service-related revenue for tire dealers, said Steve Gaut, product publicity manager for the Cadillac Division in Warren.
Cadillac dealers will now act as ``intermediaries'' for vehicle owners, who will still have the option of visiting their local tire retailer for tire warranty service.
The new benefit is part of the ``Owner Privileges Program'' provided to Cadillac purchasers. It offers such things as 24-hour roadside service and a round-the-clock consumer relations hot line.
Previously, Cadillac dealers simply offered the manufacturer's new-tire warranty, Mr. Gaut said, and told car owners to go to their local tire retailer for warranty adjustments. Cadillac would only intervene in the case of roadside service, sending a service truck to fix the tire.
Now, he explained, Cadillac will work out with a local tire dealer any tire warranty proration or other trade-out costs involved and pay the dealer his cost for the tire plus a preset amount to cover his cost to stock the tire.
To his knowledge, Mr. Gaut said, no Cadillac dealers currently do tire-service-related work. Although the company will not preclude any from offering that, ``Cadillac is encouraging them not to take on tire repairs, but rather to build a better relationship with their local tire dealers.
``...We're very sensitive that this not take away any tire repair business from tire dealers.''
GM has not set up any protocol for providing Cadillac dealers with tire-service training, and Mr. Gaut doesn't anticipate that happening.
``The idea is: (Cadillac owners) won't have to build a relationship with another retailer-they already have a pre-existing relationship with their Cadillac dealer...,'' he said.
The company actually doesn't anticipate ``massive use of the program,'' he said, because ``tires today are very, very good. We just don't have that many warranty-related defects to begin with. But for those people who do experience it, it is an inconvenience.''
A Michelin spokesman said he expects the new program ``will bring more cooperation'' between tire dealers and Cadillac dealers, who ``will still have to obtain their tires through local Michelin dealers.... I would think that specialized tire service work will still be carried out by tire dealers.
``We view it as a plus all around, and it's not going to hurt the tire dealer. If anything, it'll maybe bring in more work....''
A Goodyear spokesman said the program is a ``good deal'' for consumers, and Goodyear dealers will continue to service their tires.
While he's not aware of others contemplating a similar move, Mr. Gaut predicted ``other GM divisions and competitors will look at this as an elite program and may want to adopt it, as well.''
The 1995 model Cadillacs currently are being shipped and will be in dealers' showrooms within the next few weeks.