SAN DIEGO-At its annual dealer meeting, Goodyear announced four new programs aimed at making it easier for independent dealerships to do business and grow. Goodyear's Gold Medal Program, which should be operating by April 1, will enable small dealers to replenish Goodyear inventories from field supply points, according to Al Eastwood, vice president of replacement sales. ``The result will be improved product supply and availability with increased delivery frequency.''
Supply points will be selected from the firm's existing dealer base and company outlets, he said. Goodyear will discontinue its secondary supply point program, as a result.
Dealers must enroll in the Gold Medal program and meet certain requirements, such as having an active G-110 dealer contract or Goodyear tire center agreement. They typically must also make purchases less than a 3,000-pound minimum.
Participating dealers will communicate with Goodyear electronically for immediate inventory transfer and transaction processing. Billing will be at the Gold Medal Dealer's regular earned buying price.
Mr. Eastwood also detailed a new Customer Sales and Service Center, which will be rolled out in June.
Its primary function will be order management, although the center also will provide information about current market plans, advertising strategy and schedules, special offers, and sales and certified auto service training plans and schedules, Mr. Eastwood said.
``The objective is 95-percent problem resolution with one dealer phone call,'' he said.
Goodyear also will change its product adjustment processing system, effective July 1.
Dealers tied into Goodyear's Business Management System or Dealer Link no longer will be required to submit 100 percent of passenger and LT product adjustments to the central inspection depots for processing.
``Instead, adjustment claims will be electronically processed and credit will be issued immediately,'' Mr. Eastwood said. About 25 percent of adjusted tires will be randomly sampled.
To encourage dealer growth, Goodyear introduced its Blue Ribbon Dealer Expansion Program, which provides financial support to dealers to purchase competitive dealerships. The program also will be available to support new construction of retail or commercial locations.
Under a three-year, earn-back program, qualified dealers can earn back all of the interest and part of the principal of the loan, based on purchase volume through the location.
According to Mr. Eastwood, ``These kinds of programs will be offered in markets that represent significant growth opportunities for Goodyear.''
Goodyear also is revising its policies on leased and subleased facilities.
Retroactive to Jan. 1, Goodyear is eliminating the tire productivity clauses in those subleases that have them.
In addition, beginning in 1995, the firm said sublease renewals of retail outlets will be exercised only for locations that reflect annual growth of a still-to-be determined percentage-using 1994 as a base year-in purchases of passenger and light truck tires.
``Dealers who can grow can go out and develop their own property and we'll support them,'' Mr. Eastwood said. ``This will give them their own incentive and get Goodyear out of the direct involvement in leasing.''
For subleased locations, whose leases come due in 1995 and that don't represent the still-to-be-determined annual growth percentage, Goodyear will decline to renew its participation in the lease and allow dealers to negotiate the leases on their own, he added.