With input from its Gemini Advisory Board and Gemini Automotive Care dealers, Goodyear is dropping its 11-year-old Gemini Automotive Care automotive service marketing program and transitioning participating dealers to a new concept called Tire & Service Network.
Goodyear began moving its Gemini dealers Oct. 1 to the new program and replacing old signage. A spokesman for the company said many elements of the Gemini program will remain, but Goodyear is expanding it to become a stronger tire retailer program, with value-added benefits to help increase traffic, tire sales, product supply and cash flow for those participants.
The spokesman said Goodyear will continue switching dealers to the Tire & Service Network program during the final months of 2010. The company will disclose full program details to its dealers during its 2011 Goodyear Dealer Conference in January.
Ken Sylvester, owner of Downingtown, Pa.-based Main Line Tire Group and a two-year member of the Goodyear G3X Advisory Board, said though plans for the new program are still subject to change, it likely will be free for participants.
As it stands, Goodyear charges Gemini dealers a monthly fee of $396, according to the tire maker's 2010 Tire Business Marketing Groups survey response. Some program features, such as rebates on fees for employee training, probably will disappear, while others will go through changes, Mr. Sylvester said.
Being a Gemini member, we would get 1 percent back on our purchases every quarter, and it looks like that's going away, he said, adding that the Tire & Service Network program plans to pay back 1 percent on every tire sold instead. In addition, Goodyear plans to start paying spiffs year round under the modified program, according to Mr. Sylvester.
As far as the name change goes, Mr. Sylvester said he believes part of the reason for it is that Goodyear never really spent enough money to brand Gemini's service and that the new name creates a stronger association with the Goodyear brand.
Also, the change will help to streamline Goodyear's supply chain.
Right now you have a fragmented group of dealers that are selling Goodyear products, Mr. Sylvester said, adding that the company has G3X dealers who deal directly with wholesale distributors, direct dealers who own warehouses and buy from Goodyear, Goodyear-owned shops and smaller independent associate dealers. The Tire & Service Network will combine all four areas under one roof.
Goodyear listed 550 Gemini dealers operating 1,950 outlets this past summer. Included in the total were about 600 company-owned outlets.