AKRON-A little less than two years ago, Goodyear created its G3 program, designed to allow dealers to essentially sell Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly tire products from under one roof.
The program has been deemed a success thus far, though the company said it has led to some confusion along the way about exactly who can participate.
``The G3 program has been quite successful from Goodyear's perspective,'' a company spokesman said. ``And for the 200-plus retailers who have become G3 dealers, the program is positive. Certainly, however, there are some dealers who perhaps didn't qualify for G3, or who misinterpreted what G3 was supposed to be...and those dealers would likely be disappointed.''
Any disappointment could probably be tied to the misunderstanding that G3 was never meant for all dealers. Goodyear dealers, for example, could not automatically immediately begin selling Kelly and Dunlop products, and vice-versa, the spokesman said.
Explaining that the program was structured to be implemented on a market-by-market basis, there were some situations created where it didn't make sense for dealers to join, he said. For example, if ``Dealer A'' was a Goodyear dealer and ``Dealer B,'' located a mile away, was a Kelly dealer, adding each other's product lines wouldn't be logical.
``It would make no sense to our business, or our dealers' business, if G3 had been rolled out on a wide-open basis, with no regard to existing brand representation in the various markets we and our dealers exist,'' the spokesman said.
He added that the program is still evolving, and thanks to a new internal operating system implemented late last year, G3 dealers are now able to order and receive Goodyear and Kelly products on one invoice and delivery truck. Plans to add Dunlop in the first half of next year are on the drawing board, he said.
The G3 program was orgininally unveiled in November 1999 at the International Tire Exhibition/Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas. Under the plan, Goodyear serves as the premium line, Dunlop is positioned in the middle range and Kelly at the value end.
G3 also includes the company's associate brands, such as Remington, Centennial, Lee, Star, Monarch and others. The program's aim, according to the tire maker, was and is to secure additional tire production for its North American business and increase product supply.
At the program's outset, Goodyear sought to reduce the number of tire sizes by 23 percent, and some non-premium product lines were to be eliminated-goals the spokesman said were accomplished.
``Those product codes were reduced, as stated,'' he said. ``While the product code reduction announced 21 months ago was primarily focused on non-Goodyear tires, we also did eliminate product lines and specific items relating to the Goodyear brand-as we must do on an ongoing basis.''
For example, when Goodyear introduced the Aquatred 3 tire last summer, the Aquatred II was replaced. Similarly, the Regatta 2, Integrity and Club lines hastened the replacement of the Infinitred, Regatta, Intrepid, S4S, T-Metric and Decathlon.