RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — Sumitomo Rubber North America has initiated a dealer training program at its Rancho Cucamonga headquarters/training facility, dedicated to commercial dealership personnel.
The program, dubbed Falken Commercial Tire Academy, is based on the consumer tire-oriented Falken Academy training program the company launched in February 2018.
The program is designed to help Falken commercial tire dealers learn more about the brand's products and encourages the exchange of information and customer feedback related to the commercial truck and bus market segment.
The day-and-a-half-long seminar-style training program included a hands-on alignment session conducted by Mike Beckett of MD Alignment Services Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa.
"It's important — as a partner to our dealers — that Falken continually provides a platform to exchange information on topics that improve business relations at the fleet level and shares real-world experiences where tire maintenance and best practices are applied," Bob Klimm,director of commercial tire sales, said.
Topics discussed at the first session, held in mid-April, ran from the basics, such as proper tire applications and commercial tire maintenance, to more customized discussions, such as correcting irregular wear.
Additionally, Falken representatives addressed best sales practices, provided feature and benefit analyses on specific Falken tire offerings and detailed the brand's after-purchase customer support.
"From a product-planning perspective, the feedback we were able to capture … has been invaluable," Raul Garcia, product planning, commercial truck and bus tires, said. "I look forward to applying those inputs to enhance upcoming development efforts."
SRNA/Falken Tire Corp. has been marketing Falken-brand truck tires in North America since the early 2010s, phasing it in over several years to replace the Ohtsu brand that had been the company's primary brand for commercial tires.
At that same time, Falken launched a range of Ohtsu-brand passenger and light truck tire lines as a value-line associate brand in the company's consumer segment.