To appeal to a wider variety of dealers, Continental Tire North America (CTNA) Inc. has modified its Gold affiliated dealer program and now is offering a two-tiered plan.
For 2005, Conti has established Gold and Gold Select programs to help dealers stock and market Continental and General tires. The two-tiered approach means dealers don't have to own a chain of stores to qualify, according to Jeremy Lewin, manager of dealer programs.
``Most of our Gold dealers are multi-branded,'' he said. ``We ask for a reasonable initial commitment and later on, we believe that the quality of our products and the service provided by our Gold distributors will grow our business with those Gold dealers.''
The minimum initial investment is an opening order of 75 units. The Gold program-targeted to smaller, mid-sized dealerships and dealers new to CTNA's products-requires a minimum buying order of 600 units annually while Gold Select requires a minimum annual buying order of 1,200 units of Continental and General products combined. The tire maker noted that yearly buying orders can be pro-rated for dealers who sign on mid-year.
Previously, the Gold program was more of a one-size-fits-all plan that required a minimum initial investment of 100 units and an annual buying order of 1,000 units. CTNA lowered purchasing requirements in order to make the program available to small retailers, Mr. Lewin explained.
Conti rewards Gold Select dealers who achieve the 1,200 unit per year goal with an incentive trip and access to special point-of-sale display materials and enhanced incentives in the future, Mr. Lewin noted. Both Gold and Gold Select dealers receive advertising/promotional support, training and education, point-of-sale materials, protected territories, store signage and volume discounts. Conti also offers ``customized'' point-of-purchase start-up and refresher kits that allow Gold and Gold Select dealers to choose the best items for their stores, Mr. Lewin added.
All participating dealers in the two-tiered program also receive a Continental account number that gives them access to UHP Express, a service where Conti ships ultra-high performance tires directly to dealers. The account number also allows dealers to process national account deliveries directly into Conti's system, he said.
The Gold program debuted in 2001 and charges no fees. Mr. Lewin noted that to get a fresh start in 2005 with its two-tiered plan, CTNA asked its Gold distributors to re-sign all Gold dealers in 2004's fourth quarter, and they rose to the challenge. Today, 600 dealers are on the Gold program and 200 participate in Gold Select. Together, 1,000 outlets fly the Gold or Gold Select banner, he said.