AKRONBusinesses come and go as market demands change and, when it comes to affiliated marketing programs, the rules are no different.
In the first half of 2014, dealer marketing group American Car Care Centers Inc. (ACCC), a longtime industry mainstay, came to an end, while two new programsJack Williams Tire Co.'s myTireShop program and United Tire & Service L.L.C.showed up to fill the void created by ACCC's dissolution.
ACCC's board of directors informed dealers and suppliers Dec. 6 of the decision, which then-President and CEO Len Lewin said was based on the growth and consolidation of the group's member-distributors, along with changing industry dynamics.
By the time of its dissolution, ACCC had grown to encompass 21 distribution and retail operations with a network of more than 1,000 locations.
This is not an unhappy ending, Mr. Lewin told Tire Business at the time. Rather, he explained, it was a result of the success of the programwhere the member-distributors had outgrown the structure of the organization. Some of those member-distributors joined ACCC 15 years ago and got bigger, and eventually they had no room to grow within their territory boundaries.
The structure created in 1989 no longer worked for the membership we had, he said, adding that the big operations are in a growth mode.
Following the dissolution, former ACCC shareholder Jack Williams Tire launched its own program, myTireShop Certified Shop, borrowing some of the most popular features of ACCC, including a credit card program, coast-to-coast warranty, a road hazard plan and spiffs, according to company President Scott Williams.
Where the myTire-Shop program is meant to improve upon what ACCC offered is the ability to deliver an actual customer to a dealer, Mr. Williams said.
A key program component is the firm's retail-facing website, myTire-Shop.com, that allows consumers to browse available tires, view prices and choose a local program member to buy from. Jack Williams will not charge the customer for the sale; rather, the company will serve as a middle man to connect shoppers to tire businesses.
We're like an online dating service for tires, Mr. Williams told Tire Business. We're taking our local inventory availability out of our warehouses and marrying it up with the dealer's capacity to install the tires, and at the same time the dealer is the one that's charging the customer, not us.
The dealer's actually setting their own pricing and they're kind of managing their own online profilewe're the piece in between.
Meanwhile, Main Line Tire Group, which announced plans in 2013 to rebrand its stores under the United Tire & Service banner, completed the rebranding process and introduced a business partnership program.
According to United Tire, the program offers all the services and benefits of a franchise but without the revenue cost to dealer sales.
Independent dealers join our group to gain the tools and buying connections to enable them to compete, the firm reported in a Tire Business marketing groups survey. Our program is flexible in that a dealer can remain 100-percent independent or opt to partner with us either immediately or over time.
Downingtown, Pa.-based United Tire said the program provides dealers with a business model that both assists them in daily operations and allows them to plan for the future.
A dealer who wants to spend less time in the day-to-day operations of their business could utilize our management services to support the store management team, the company said, adding that it offers a comprehensive and flexible succession plan as part of the program.
The company's 17 independent tire stores in the Delaware Valleyeach which previously had been named after the town in which they're locatedare now operating under the United Tire brand identity. The firm said it expects to add six tire centers to the group before year-end 2014.
Other programs have made notable changes to their program features in the last year. These include:
c Best One Tire & Service improved its B1 Advantage program with a planning tool for its dealers and is planning to create a learning and development academy for program members in the coming years.
c In the first quarter of 2014, Bridgestone Americas added a capital funding program to assist participants in its Bridgestone Affiliated Retailer Nationwide Network with financing new equipment purchases and showroom upgrades.
c Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. increased marketing line and volume bonus payouts for its Gold dealer program.
c Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. lowered the minimum purchase volume for its Century program to 300 units from 400. In addition, the tire maker increased payouts per level for Century and added a level to its Medallion program.
c Falken Tire Corp. added a Dealer Dashboard website, which it said its Fanatic program members can use to redeem marketing points for tires, frequent flyer miles and gift card points.
cGoodyear is now offering dealer websites for its Good-year Tire & Service Network program members and has made advertising program changes designed to drive traffic to locations, the tire maker said.
c Hankook Tire America Corp. increased the purchase volume requirement for its ONE program to 240 units per year. In addition, Hankook said it has assigned new names to the program's incentive levels and added new lines to the premium line incentive rewards.
c Delphos, Ohio-based K&M Tire Inc. made a number of enhancements to its Big 3 and Mr. Tire associate dealer programs in the last year. The company added Net Driven as its website developer for dealers, established a credit card program, improved its parts rebates program and expanded its territory size to include Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
c Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. launched a dealer portal to help dealers participating in its Premium FUEL Program track their quarterly performance, order literature and gear and to provide training and marketing support.
c In its second year, Pirelli Tire L.L.C.'s FasTrack associate dealer program has grown to 700 participating dealers operating 1,100 outlets. Within the last year, the program has made a few changes. National account deliveries and secondary supplier purchases now count for rate calculation, the company said, and Pirelli has added a loyalty program with quarterly payments.
c Following Tire Discounter Group Inc.'s acquisition of YKW Motorsports Canada in July 2013, participants in the program now have access to a factory-direct wheel program.
c Tire Factory added a consumer-facing website with free appointment scheduling and price quote features.
c Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. said it has significantly increased payouts for its Toyo Tires Driven Associate Dealer Program since the fourth quarter of 2013. Payouts have doubled for the majority of tires in the program. In addition, Toyo is working to improve reporting and make enhancements to product training in 2014.
c Yokohama Tire Corp. doubled rewards payouts for its Advantage commercial program (see related story on page 10) in 2014. During the second half of the year, the company said it will launch a website with added functionality to help its associate dealers and their distributors track program performance and potential.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6148.