LAS VEGAS — Tire sales, once considered an afterthought for car dealerships and general auto repair shops, are becoming a lucrative means of attracting vehicle service customers, according to Jim Lang, an independent consultant and marketing analyst in the automotive aftermarket industry.
"I think (car) dealers have taken a more aggressive role in the sale of tires," Mr. Lang told Tire Business.
"I see more and more people getting into tires as an extension of their business simply for the point of appealing to a wider audience of consumers," he said.
- This story appears in the Jan. 6 print edition of Tire Business.
"Tires are becoming an important entrée that (car) dealers use to gain access to greater repair at the consumer level," he added.
Car dealerships' quick-service bays have been promoting their oil changes and tire checks.
"Some of their concept is if you can get the person's oil change business and their tire business, you can pretty much get everything in between," he said.
"Because tires are one of the most expensive and certainly the first expensive repair or replacement that most people do on their vehicle. So if you can get them to come back to the dealer for that, then you can get their repair business in the future.
"In particular, when they are selling used vehicles," he added, "they want to get the person to come back to the quick-service bay and they're using tires as a means of getting the people back there."
Dealers are trying to encourage owners of all makes and models to visit their bays and they will sell any brand of tire.
"So people are seeing tires as a way of attracting a whole new group of consumers," he said. "Years ago dealers didn't pay much attention to tires, but now they see it as a way of gaining consumer loyalty."One roadblock for independent tire dealerships' competing with car dealerships is the extended hours car dealerships offer. Many are open seven days a week and usually open 10 to 12 hours a day, so they become more convenient, he said.