ABOARD THE NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS — The importance of supporting and partnering with its independent tire dealers was among the topics covered during Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C.'s 2017 Gold Cruise.
The event was held March 28 — the third day of the six-day cruise, awarded to dealers who sold more than 2,000 units from the Continental/General Tire portfolio in 2016.
"We want to be more than a transactional supplier to customers," Bill Caldwell, vice president of sales and marketing, told the group at the business meeting, held March 28 aboard the Navigator of the Seas cruise ship.
"... Partnership with our customers is really important for us, because in the end, tire business is people business."
This year, 334 elite Gold dealers qualified for the 12th annual trip, including 67 first-time dealers. The cruise, which had stops in Nassau, Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico, included 640 dealers and guests, as well as Conti staff.
While Conti had rolled out some of the changes to its Gold program in January — including benchmark increases for three of the four levels of the Gold Retailer Program — Sean McDermaid, national sales manager, detailed some of the benefits to dealers.
The benchmark for Gold Elite status increased to 3,500 units from 2,000, while the reward per unit increases to $7 this year from $4 in 2016. If a dealer who sold 3,000 units in 2016 increases that number to 3,500 units in 2017, his financial reward more than doubles, to $24,500.
"The changes that we made were all designed to reward and hopefully assure your loyalty to us into the future," Mr. McDermaid told dealers.
"This is an effort to make sure all the dealers make the same if not more in 2017 than in years past. We hope this additional money and additional commitment shows you that we remain incredibly committed to independent tire dealers. We want to find ways for you to grow with Continental in the future."