AKRON-Price still is uppermost in most tire dealers' minds when selecting a private brand for resale purposes, a TIRE BUSINESS survey suggests. ``Product quality'' was the second most frequent consideration cited by 19 private-brand tire dealers who responded to the survey.
It was followed by ``market exclusivity,'' ``minimum purchase needed,'' ``frequency of delivery'' and ``product appearance,'' in that order.
What's more, price also was the No. 1 consideration cited by those survey participants carrying tire manufacturers' ``associate'' or ``house'' brands.
With one exception, the opinions registered by associate brand dealers closely mirrored those of their private brand counterparts.
Whereas private brand dealers ranked market exclusivity third, associate brand dealers relegated it to fifth place or next to last among the six possible considerations listed on the survey form. This suggests associate brand dealers may not rate market exclusivity as highly as do those carrying private brands.
The survey also showed some dealers are confused regarding the difference between private and manufacturers' associate or so-called house brands. Some survey respondents indicated they sell a private brand, but listed an associate brand when asked to name the private tire brand they carry.
Confusion arose despite the fact the survey form identified private brands as those owned and marketed by someone other than the manufacturer and associate brands as those owned and marketed by the manufacturer other than that company's ``flag'' brand.
This suggests that the difference between the two types of brands-a necessary distinction when seeking to determine a tire maker's share of market-is less significant to dealers than to analysts.
Of those dealers handling private brand tires, the survey also found that:
Seven out of 10 (72.7 percent) are selling increasing numbers of private brand tires;
Most derive better than half their tire sales (56.6 percent) from private brands;
Two-thirds (66.6 percent) advertise private brand tires; and
Low price, product quality and the offering of free services such as mounting, balancing and warranties are the benefits most frequently stressed by dealers when recommending private brand tires to retail customers.
While figures supplied by survey participants varied, their responses suggest that, on average, dealers normally purchase private brand tires at about 19 percent below the cost of comparable flag brands and 13 percent below that of associate brands.