MISSISSAUGA, Ontario—Throughout 2000, Bridgestone/Firestone Canada Inc. (BFC) is determined to keep customers coming back to its dealers for tires and service. The subsidiary of Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone/ Firestone Inc. is installing its Tire Club retail concept nationwide in Canada at 80 independently owned Firestone Tire & Auto Centres (TACs). The company will begin the process during the second quarter and expects to complete it by mid-year, a Bridgestone/ Firestone Canada Inc. spokesman said.
BFC already had introduced Tire Club—a "store within a store" that offers customers a range of value-added benefits—at three test stores in 1999.
Tire Club aims to establish an ongoing relationship with the consumer so that BFC stores are first in consumers' minds when they need auto service or new tires, he said.
"I think a lot of consumers still look at tires as `they're black and round,'|" the spokesman said. "We're looking for a way to get them to be more conscious, to be more educated about their tire purchasing decisions. That's part of the philosophy."
Tire Club offers a consumer who purchases four new Bridgestone, Firestone or Triumph tires at a participating TAC a number of benefits, including complete roadside assistance, lifetime no-charge tire rotation, free tire disposal, free road-hazard protection for tires and one free oil change, lube and filter service. The physical layout of Tire Club stores also is designed to be more customer-friendly.
The program is unique to Canada and is BFC's way to gain more business from repeat customers during the slow tire sales months, the spokesman said.
"That's part of what we're attempting to achieve with Tire Club through ongoing communications with the customer," he said.
"Even if they may not need tires, they make one initial purchase and enroll in Tire Club. Part of our objective is to ensure that Bridgestone/ Firestone—and the dealer through which they've established the relationship—remain top-of-mind."
BFC also is looking at the Tire Club program for some of its 58 CTR Tires stores in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces.