CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — While it's been notably quiet this year, Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. explained its reason in the wake of a disruptive 12 months in the tire industry.
According to Bill Caldwell, vice president of sales and marketing for Conti, the tire maker is continuing what it has done in the past to forge a successful business platform: Focus on producing a quality product and partner with distributors "who support our brands and support dealers who want to sell our brands the right way.
"So there's not really an initiative or a trigger or a catalyst for us to change that course right now," Mr. Caldwell told a record 375 dealers — including 62 attending the event for the first time — at Conti's 15th annual Gold Trip, held at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos resort.
The General Session, held the morning of March 12, was the main event of the five-day getaway that Conti rewards its top dealers.
Nearly 100 premier dealers spent two extra days in Cabo San Lucas, including a night at the Cabo Wabo Cantina, a popular nightclub and restaurant founded by rock musician Sammy Hagar.
Continental, Mr. Caldwell said, builds, develops, designs and market tires. And, he told dealers, he knows what they do best: Sell to consumers.
"So our plan of attack going forward is to remain not a competitor of yours, but a partner of yours and ensure that we support you in the right way and making sure we have distributors that support us, and we want to make sure they're successful as well."
Within the last 15 months, the top three tire makers in Tire Business' Global Tire Report — Bridgestone Americas Inc., Goodyear (which together formed a 50-50 joint venture, TireHub), and Michelin North America Inc. (which formed National Tire Wholesale with Sumitomo Corp. of America) — expanded the wholesaling end of their businesses