If you deal tires, chances are you know your brands well. This is especially true after years of supply issues limiting inventory, resulting in dealerships taking on different brands to fill demand.
Maybe you even added a brand or two to the list of those you like to recommend to customers.
While you may know your brands, do you know how many tire brands are sold in North America?
There are more than 370 tire brands being sold in North America, including a handful of new ones launched predominantly by overseas manufacturers looking to gain a foothold in the markets here.
You may need some more inventory space.
Every dealer has certain brands they prefer, because of performance, price or both. Maybe you like one brand over another because you had to submit a warranty and had a positive or negative experience. Or maybe, when all things are equal, you judge one program to be better than another.
Gauging the strength of a brand would probably differ from one tire dealer to the next, but there's a few we can all agree are great brands.
For tire makers, gaining brand trust is a daily undertaking that takes years to build. Just because everyone knows the Goodyear brand, for example, the Akron-based tire maker isn't retiring the blimp anytime soon.
Being front of consumers' minds through creative marketing is an important aspect of any product's success, but performance is key to longevity.
So it might not be surprising to learn that in its latest report, Brand Finance ranked Michelin and Bridgestone as the top two most valuable tire brands in the world.
Coincidentally, Michelin Group (No. 1) and Bridgestone Corp. (No. 2) are the two leaders in global tire sales.
Brand Finance defines brand value as the value of the trademark and associated marketing intellectual property within the branded business.
Something interesting to note is that only four of the top 15 brands increased in value — Michelin, Pirelli, Sailun and India's MRT. Chinese-owned value-tier Sailun had the largest gain in brand value.
Most recently, the firm released an electric vehicle tire, the EVRange, showed off its EcoPoint3 liquid compounding, aka "liquid gold," and opened a research/development facility in the U.S. and a state-of-the-art factory in Cambodia.
Another note is the Dunlop, a brand shared by Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., ranked as the No. 5 most valuable brand, although according to Brand Finance's calculations, its value dropped 14% from a year earlier.
We aren't telling tire dealers anything they don't already know: In today's economy, as interest rates rise and new car shortages continue, consumers are holding onto cars longer.
They can't afford some of the more well known Tier 1 brands. The value-tier brands, such as Sailun, continue to gain traction.
And that is why the top manufacturers seem to have made a concerted effort to reinvigorate some of those brands. To wit, Goodyear just released two new Kelly all-season products, while Michelin is about to release a new Uniroyal offering. Continental told us it was going to emphasize its General brand this year.
And on and on.
So what's the best brand out there? We think it's the one stamped on your next sale.