CHICAGO—eTires.com is inviting tire dealerships and automotive repair shops nationwide to join its Certified eTires Installer Program as a no-cost way to build traffic—and profits.
A division of Suburban Tire Co. of Chicago, eTires began selling tires over the Internet in June 1999. Since consumers have repeatedly asked for a list of dealerships to install those tires, eTires President Steven Leffler said the company recently decided to offer that service online.
Dealerships can join the program free of charge and gain business by installing the tires, Mr. Leffler said.
The program allows a consumer to log onto www.eTires.com to get free information on which tires are best for their vehicle and also compare pricing among competitors. They can save $50 to $80 on average for a set of tires, he said.
After making a purchase from eTires.com, the tires are either shipped to the customer or a certified eTires installer.
The customer makes an appointment for the installation and, when the work is completed, pays the dealership directly for all services performed.
Customers also receive a free road hazard warranty and free roadside assistance with the tires.
According to a company press release, another major benefit to dealers is that "while the customer's car is in the air, the repair shop will have the opportunity to inspect the car and sell other services," Mr. Leffler said. "It's a free and easy way for the dealership to drive business through their doors."
And, he told Tire Business, "they get to capture a customer for tire rotations. They can gain brake work, alignment work, regular rotations and tire maintenance from the customer."
It takes about five minutes to sign up to be a certified eTires.com installer, he added.
As consumers increasingly use the Internet to make purchases, eTires.com "saw a huge marketing opportunity available," Mr. Leffler said. "We think as much as 10 to 15 percent of the tire market could be tires sold online within 10 years. And we'd like to be one of the leaders in that area."