“Since the conference, we've been systematically talking to dealers about the program, explaining how it works, explaining their role, explaining why we did it,” he said. “As we leave those meetings, that's where we're getting our sign-ups.”
Though new installers are coming on board at a consistent clip, the news of Goodyear's plans for online tire sales brought quick and very mixed reactions from its dealer base.
Tom White, co-owner of Northeast Ohio's Dawson Industries Inc., which does business as Tire Source, said he is supportive of the change.
“I think Internet tire shopping, in my opinion, is going to happen whether we want it to or not,” he told Tire Business. “My take is, ask the video stores and the book stores, the ones that didn't see it coming.
“I think we're in a better position because we're going to be able to do the service, because (consumers) need a place to get the tires installed and to do the alignments and get the oil changes and all of that,” he added. “It's not a bad thing for dealers as long as manufacturers handle it correctly.”
Mr. White said he believes Goodyear's decision will help dealers in terms of cash flow and obtaining new customers, adding that it makes good business sense for the manufacturer, too.
“I have sometimes wondered about the manufacturers putting all their eggs in just a few baskets, giving up their distribution to wholesalers,” he said. “This is a way to kind of get some of that distribution back. Even though they still use the wholesalers to push (tires) out, there's more control this way.... I see the logic behind it.”
Not everyone sees the change largely as a positive.