KELLEYS ISLAND, Ohio (June 12, 2003)—Goodyear plans to re-energize its Kelly tire line by stepping up investment in the brand and expanding the line into the original equipment segment.
The Akron-based tire maker announced the new efforts to boost the brand and increase market share with independent tire dealers during a dealer event held June 12 on Kelleys Island, a summer resort in Lake Erie.
Mark McDonald, director of Kelly Brands marketing, said the new Kelly push also includes more advertising, dedicated sales and marketing resources, a Kelly-only dealer advisory board and distribution through what he termed a new world-class supply chain organization.
“In total, the actions that we are taking for independent tire dealers will provide the framework for a resurgence of the Kelly brand, which is a key element of our company's road to recovery,” Mr. McDonald said. “We want our loyal Kelly dealers to know that the road to recovery leads directly through the independent tire dealer.”
Armed with statistics indicating a near 40-percent loyalty factor among new-car purchasers in replacing their original tires with the same brand, Mr. McDonald said there is a tremendous opportunity for Kelly dealers to capitalize on the replacement loyalty that will couple select American automobiles with “America's original tire brand.”
He promised dealers that Goodyear “will make smart decisions that are mutually beneficial to both our dealers and the Kelly brand,” adding that the strategy is to keep Kelly dedicated to the independent dealer.
Goodyear told dealers it plans to introduce 50 new sizes for the Kelly brand in the next 18-24 months, with the focus being on line simplification and SKU reduction.
The firm also plans to hire a national sales manager for the Kelly brand and said it will increase sales and marketing resources for Kelly.
“We have increased our advertisement investment to deliver 330 percent more impressions,” Mr. McDonald said, “and will deliver through a world-class supply chain organization structured around the customer.”
That supply chain is being consolidated under the leadership of Pat Hurley.
As part of a new Kelly marketing campaign, Goodyear officials said ads will be targeted to local markets and will include dealer tag lines—a strategy emphasizing territory integrity.
The Kelly brand is estimated to hold a 3- to 4-percent share of the North American replacement market for passenger and light truck tires. Earlier this year, Goodyear North American Tire President Jon Rich told a financial analysts' conference there was room for Kelly to grow since the brand is sold in less than half of all zip codes in the U.S.