RALEIGH, N.C.—Michelin North America Inc. is testing a mobile retail tire purchasing/installation solution called “Michelin OnSite” that will enable consumers to buy tires online or by phone and have them installed at a time and place of their choice.
According to a Michelin spokesperson, the new program, which is being pilot-tested in the Raleigh-Durham area, is designed to address the growing needs of consumers for convenience, speed and simplicity during the tire-purchasing experience. He added that it is “one of several concepts” developed as part of the tire maker's global R&D organization to “identify and test new business models for Michelin at the group level.”
“Michelin recognizes the critical role that our dealer partners play on the national and local levels,” the spokesperson told Tire Business. “Our goal at this stage is simply to determine whether the Michelin OnSite concept appeals to a specific consumer niche, and whether it can be executed in a cost-effective way.”
Since Michelin does not have its own captive retail outlets, it's not known how the company would roll this service out on a broader scale.
By visiting the OnSite website—at www.michelinonsite.com—or speaking to a service representative at 866-420-8846, consumers in the test market can select and purchase Michelin-brand tires and schedule a time and location to have the tires installed. A technician is then sent in a mobile tire-fitting van to the location where the service is to be performed.
According to the OnSite website, tire installation services include: tire replacement; tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) servicing and/or new valve stems; precision balancing; nitrogen inflation; wheel cleaning; and used tire disposal. Technicians also will inspect the treadwear of used tires and make recommendations on alignment services.
Go Tire Inc., the company franchising a mobile tire-fitting business in Canada—and is exploring rolling the concept into the U.S.—oversaw the design and outfitting of the full-size panel van Michelin is using, according Craig Howes, co-founder of the Calgary, Alberta-based business.
If desired, safety inspections can be performed on a customer's other vehicles at the site in order to provide recommendations on tire condition, replacement and rotation needs, Michelin's website states.
Installation service times through the program will vary depending on the type of vehicle and tires, Michelin said. The ideal location for tire service is at a home or office, and six feet of space surrounding the vehicle is needed.
Michelin OnSite's service costs $169 for the installation of four tires, plus applicable taxes and fees, the company said. Tires must be purchased in advance of installation and are sold at market prices.
Initially, Michelin OnSite appointments will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with OnSite's service covering the Raleigh-Durham area, which includes most of the Research Triangle.
According to comments made to a Raleigh media outlet, Michelin chose Raleigh-Durham for the pilot project due to its market demographics, proximity to key distribution sources, and the community's status as an early adopter of new technologies and services.
To reach this reporter: wschertz@ crain.com; 330-865-6148.