CANCUN, Mexico—Continental Tire the Americas' mission statement for its Gold Dealers in 2014 is straightforward: “You are our #1. We want to be your #1.”
Bill Caldwell, vice president of marketing and sales for the Fort Mill, S.C.-based tire maker, along with other top executives, delivered that message on April 9 to more than 200 dealers attending the 2014 Conti Gold Dealers annual meeting, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun.
“In 2013, we turned the corner on being able to supply to a level we expect to,” Caldwell said, referring to the commissioning of the company's plant in Sumter, S.C., and other international expansion projects, “although we still have many improvements to go.”
With millions of units of new capacity coming on stream at a number of plants, Conti is positioned to move more aggressively into the marketplace, Caldwell said, setting the stage for the company to pitch itself more realistically as a dealer's No. 1 supplier.
During the meeting of Conti Gold elite dealers—those who bought at least 2,000 units from Conti last year—Conti executives repeated the mission statement multiple times and challenged those in attendance to tell Conti, “What will it take for us to be your No. 1 supplier?”
Jim Sicking, director of sales, estimated Conti already is the single largest supplier to about a quarter or more of the elite dealers and expects to be in a position to broaden that measurably.
To position itself for enhancing business with Gold dealers, Conti outlined four pillars for growth: strong product performance portfolio; value proposition; partnership with customers; and people.
On the product side, Conti introduced the True Contact, an all-season touring tire targeted at the passenger car/cross-over/mini-van segment that replaces the Pro Contact EcoPlus, and announced 37 new sizes of the General Altimax RT43, according to Joe Maher, product manager, performance tires.
As for value proposition, Conti is increasing cash incentives on many Conti and General lines to $7 and $5, respectively, according to Chris Jenkins, who oversees programs for Conti, which based on the volume levels achieved last year by the Gold Dealer elite tire network would represent more than $5,000 in additional revenue.
Conti also has revamped the reporting requirements for the Gold rewards to make them more transparent and easier to track.