Modern Tire Dealer

MAY 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D M a y 2 0 1 9 26 precise than looking forward into a crystal ball," joked Kelsey. "Our focus and intent for setting up our program was to show Goodyear the long-term advantages it would bring to the company. ese tires have been so long awaited," Kelsey said, noting that Goodyear was OE on a large portion of the cars produced in those years. When Goodyear gave the nod to the project, it was decided the tires would be made in the company's South American facil- ity because, Kelsey explained, "it was the plant with the most recent association with these bias products." One thing that Kelsey is grateful for is the "similarity of enthusiasm in Akron and in Argentina. e only differ- ence is geography. Both places maintain the same high level of communication and quality. "Tire dealers can be assured these tires are designed with ultimate positive performance as the main characteristic. Good- year has not compromised the product to match the possible end use," Kelsey indicated, referring to the cases where the collector cars are never driven, only trailored to shows. Another thing dealers can be assured of, Kelsey stated emphatically, is that "the tools needed to fit these tires to col- lector cars are already in the tire dealer's shop." "Mention vintage cars to dealers and most visualize themselves struggling on the floor replacing a tire on a Model T. at thinking needs to be turned around. It is no more difficult to service a 1935 to 1970 car than it is to service late model cars. e vast majority of cars can be dealt with no problems," he said. For autos which require any out-of-the-ordinary items, Kelsey wants the dealer to know the he, and his experts in ware- houses around the country, are only a phone call away. "e frustration factor comes up very quickly," Kelsey said. "We make ourselves as accessible as possible," referring to himself, his San Jose, Calif., warehouse manager, Ralph Finley, and his Elizabethtown, Pa., warehouse manager, George Walborn. Kelsey admits that currently, the majority of business in col - lector car tires is mail order. He and other collector car tire companies advertise in maga- zines geared toward the auto enthusiast, such as Hemmings, the most widely-read antique car buff book, and other off- shoots such as Mustang Monthly, Camaro Corral and Popular and Performance Car Review. Another avenue for sales is antique and collector car shows. Kelsey reported his company attends approximately 35 shows per year, including the biggest of them all, the annual collector car show and swamp meet held in Hershey, Pa. "It is not unusual for 100,000 people to attend the Hershey show," informs Kelsey. However, people who buy through mail order, as well as the people who buy at Hershey, have one problem. It's called "lugging the tires," noted Kelsey. Whether the tires are purchased through the mail or at a car show the fact remains the tires have to be lugged to a tire dealership for mounting and balancing. Because of this inconvenience, Kelsey sees tire dealers playing a more important role in collector car tire sales. Collector car tires represent an area for high growth and profit "We see our role changing in the future," Kelsey said. "We see our major influence changing from supplying the customer to supplying the dealer. It is important for the tire dealer to recognize the potential of this market. It holds golden opportunities for growth and profit for dealers." Recognizing the possibilities covers a broad spectrum. e dealer should find out if anyone on his staff is involved in collec- tor cars. Kelsey feels very oen there is at least one person at each dealership who is an auto buff. It is natural that people who choose to work around cars are interested in their development. e dealer should also look for antique and collector car clubs operating in his area, as well as canvass the area for members of the largest group, the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). Repair shops that deal with the restoration of collector cars should also be noted. And the dealer should look for competition. If there are no dealers in his area already specializing in serving this mar- ket segment, and if the dealer decides there is a sufficient number of people in the area to justify offering collector tires, this is an area of good growth and profit. "Gross profit potential is equal to, or more than, what a dealer will get on his everyday product line," Kelsey affirmed. He added that prices are depen- dent on applications, yet "the pricing structure will not leave the dealer at a disadvantage. "When a dealer sells the Bedford or the Goodyear line, he will find himself offering major brand tire lines at competitive prices." It should also be noted that dealers need not worry about carrying a lot of inventory. "Because of United Postal Service delivery times, it is my opinion that dealers should not handle much inventory. Customers are used to mail order, so they will not be unaccustomed to waiting a little for their tires." Kelsey figures dealers can receive ordered tires within three to five days, depending on the dealerships' distance from his warehouses. "What a dealer does need is to allocate a certain amount of floor and wall space for a display of collector tires. Nothing helps a sale more than letting the customer have his hands on the product he is buying." It is apparent the customer base is increasing, as is the number of cars to be fitted with collector tires. e Baby Boomers, who are credited with being the main purchaser of high performance cars and replace- ment performance tires, are becoming a major influence in the collector car market. ey can now afford the cars they longed for while growing up. Collector car owners are, as stated, demanding. ey won't settle for second best. If you offer the service and product, they won't have to. ■ P a s t , P r e s e n t , F u t u r e : K e l s e y T i r e i n 1 9 8 5 Collector car tires represent an area for high growth and profit. e Kelsey Tire support team (le to right): Tom Rohde, store manager, Hel- en Randle, secretary/bookkeeper, and Melvin Miller, alignment specialist.

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