ARLINGTON, TexasCooper Tire & Rubber Co. is extending its Cooper Medallion and Mastercraft Century Club loyalty programs to the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA), which represents more than 20,000 businesses dealing in used cars.
Cooper said it is teaming with the NIADA as a way to expand its brands and business while also giving NIADA members direct benefits associated with tire sales. Cooper did not quantify its sales expectations for the deal nor the length of the agreement.
This is the first time the NIADA has had a vendor rewards program involving tires, according to Scott Lilja, senior vice president of member services for Arlington-based NIADA.
The new tire sales/service member benefit program will drive new sales and profit to our members, diversify their dealerships' business models and drive new prospective customer traffic to their storesall a big win for our members, according to Mr. Lilja, who added that the association's top executive members had been keen to add another profit center opportunity to the group's member services.
The agreement is Cooper's second with a non-traditional customer base, following its partnership with Meineke Car Care Centers to offer Meineke franchisees attractive rates and promotions on Cooper-, Mastercraft- and Starfire-brand tires through the automotive service franchise program's Meineke ExTRA (Expert Tire Replacement Authority) program.
Driven Brands Inc.the franchisor of Meineke Car Care Centers, Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops and six other automotive service businesseswas recently purchased from Harvest Partners L.P. by Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity group.
Among the benefits Coop-er said it is offering NIADA members are an opportunity for additional consumer traffic to dealerships, enhanced customer loyalty and an opportunity for higher vehicle service revenues/profits.
NIADA member companies that choose to participate will be served by an extensive network of qualified tire distributors throughout the U.S. that are in the programs. Cooper said it will work with NIADA members to direct them in how to qualify and enroll in the Medallion and Century programs.
Mr. Lilja said he expects dealers who choose to engage the program will promote tires as a separate sales/profit center as well as take advantage of competitive tire pricing for upgrading cars on their lots.
Taking advantage of the Medallion or Century programs means dealers have to have a certain quality level of tire servicing equipment, he said, requiring a certain percentage of them to invest in new equipment.
NIADA members report roughly 20 percent of their annual sales come from their service departments, according to the NIADA's Used Car Industry Report.
The supply of used cars in the U.S. was roughly 11 million units last year, according to National Automobile Dealers Association figures, and could rise to nearly 12 million this year.
The NIADA said its agreement with Cooper includes providing access to e-Cooper University online training and next-day shipping.
The association has corporate partnerships with more than two dozen vendors, including Autozone, Carfax, eBay Motors and Experian Automotive.
The NIADA has represented independent automobile dealers since 1946. It pitches itself as the independent dealer's legislative advocate, protecting members' business interests.
The association said its original purpose was to lobby for the repeal of rationing of tires and automotive parts after World War II.
Independent used car retailers make up the bulk of the NIADA's membership, Mr. Lilja said, with wholesalers, auto auction houses, etc., making up about 10 percent.
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