FULLERTON, Calif. — Yokohama Tire Corp. plans to use a special customer service program to make its Advan line of tires stand out from competitors´ ultra-high-performance products.
The Japanese-owned tire maker has launched "Advan Premium Service," a program that aims to give Advan UHP tires a certain cachet among high-end vehicle owners.
Jim Mayfield, director of the Advan brand, said the Fullerton, Calif.-based tire maker already has a reputation of working closely with and offering "great service" to its dealers. It now it wants to extend that to the end-use customer.
Mayfield described Advan as more than a high-performance line, targeted at racetrack and auto enthusiasts. It´s also a lifestyle tire brand for consumers who appreciate luxury items. And, for consumers of luxury goods, Mayfield said there is a higher expectation of service that´s expected. "And that´s what we want to be able to provide."
Advan is the name parent Yokohama Rubber Co. uses for its UHP tires worldwide. Yokohama began offering Advan products, all made in Japan, in the U.S. in 2005.
The brand consists of five lines, including the Advan Sport premium luxury tire with original equipment fitments on vehicles such as the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur, Audi S8, Porsche Carrera and Lexus GS 350 and GS 430. "These are fitments that fit the lifestyle side of what we do," Mayfield said.
Other products are the Advan S.4. all-season tire; the Advan S.T. sport-utility vehicle tire; the Advan Neova, a full tread depth, street-legal competition tire; and the Advan A048 DOT-approved competition track tire.
"For whatever segment that tire is involved, we want to be the best of the best," Mayfield said of the Advan lineup.
Advan Premium Service has two components. Internally, the company set up a team trained to field customers´ calls and answer questions regarding Advan products. Yokohama also has established a field sales force to work with tire dealers offering Advan products. "We´re working to develop a dealer network to support that premium-service vision," Mayfield said.
In the coming months, the company will meet with dealers to discuss the program and would like as many as are interested to participate, Mayfield said. "We´ll be working with them to put a plan in place together," he said, but he declined to provide details.
The company has set up a separate Web site-www.advan.com-for the brand.
While acknowledging that establishing Advan as a lifestyle brand will be a long-term project, Mayfield said the company believes there´s an opportunity in the market to create a different level of service.
"The way we handle customers and the way we handle their concerns will give us a way to differentiate the brand," he said.