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California lawmakers seek to mandate proper tire inflation

California lawmakers want to mandate proper tire inflation on the state's 30 million passenger cars.

California lawmakers want to mandate proper tire inflation on the state's 30 million passenger cars.

It’s a well-known fact that properly inflating your tires is not only boosts your gas mileage by as much as 3 percent, but also  extends the lifespan of your tires. Now, lawmakers in California are seeking to mandate proper tire inflation as a way to reduce fuel consumption in the state. Under new regulations, mechanics would be required to check the tire pressure on every vehicle brought in for maintenance, oil changes, and smog tests.

State regulators believe that more than 50% of the state’s 30 million cars have severely or moderately underinflated tires. In addition to wasting tremendous amounts of fuel, poorly inflated also pose a safety hazard to all motorists on the road. More than 40,000 auto shops have already expressed support for the plan, though future technology eventually may make constant air re-fills obsolete.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama suggested that paying attention to tire inflation as part of a long-term energy plan. His idea was unfortunately mocked by the McCain campaign team, but  John McCain was eventually forced to admit that Obama was right.

If lawmakers get their way, Californias will conserve 75 million gallons and 700,000 tires per year.

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Filed under: Tire News, , , ,

Tire Business Tip #2: Take your business online

Just about every type of business can benefit from a Web site.

Just about every type of business can benefit from a Web site.

The tire industry as a whole seems to be lagging a few years behind others when it comes to taking advantage of technology. Most of the businesses you work with on a day to day basis probably use fax instead of e-mail, and less than 25% of them have considered the benefits of creating an online presence for their business. It doesn’t matter if you sell tires & wheels and want to expand your reach, or if you’re simply looking for a way to find new customers. Creating a Web site for your business is a very cost-effective marketing (and selling) tool that can bring your business to the next level.

How do you currently market to and recruit new customers? Word-of-mouth and some measly phonebook ads aren’t going to cut it in 2009, especially with the current state of the economy. Creating and promoting a fully-featured Web site can be accomplished for $1,000 or less, which is very little compared to the fact that the very first customers that find you through your website will repay the investment. Not sure what to put on your new site? Here are some ideas:

  • Include some background and history about your company. Customers will feel more confident working with your business if they know a bit more about who you are.
  • Add a detailed list of the services you offer. Many businesses don’t like to include prices on their websites because it encourages customers to stop by instead of window shop. Remember to sell the visit.
  • Post some pictures of your facility, your staff, and your work area to get customers more familiar with your business. Show off your best equipment and let clients know what they are getting.
  • Include a “quick contact e-mail form” that allows customers to get in touch with you very quickly. The form will allow website visitors to send you an e-mail, which may be more convenient than a phone call if they are busy or at work. Respond to all e-mails in a timely fashion. You can also collect e-mail addresses and send them special offers every month.
  • Any other type of information that will encourage website visitors to stop by in person!

Filed under: Tire Business Tips

Continental announces 5 new truck tires

Continental announced 5 new truck tires that will be manufactured in the U.S.

Continental announced 5 new truck tires that will be manufactured in the U.S.

This year’s Mid-America Trucking show has come to an end, but not before Continental shared some encouraging news regarding the U.S.-based manufacture of 5 new wholesale truck tires. This next generation lineup includes 2 new steer tires, a trailer tire, and a drive tire, as well as a new wide-based trailer tire. The theme of the new lineup seems to be “efficiency,” as most of the new products offer improved mileage and lower overall driving costs.

The five new Continental truck tires are:

  1. HSR2 (heavy steer) regional. Replaces the 7-year old Continental HSR. New tread compound offers a 15% mileage improvement over the older version. Also includes other features such as a patented stone ejection system and a visual alignment indicator which serves as a helpful warning regarding alignment issues.
  2. HDL2 DL (heavy drive long-haul deep lug). Features an inch of tread depth and a wide tread pattern.
  3. HTL Eco-plus (heavy trailer long haul). An eco-friendlier trailer tire that improves fuel economy by 10%.
  4. H2U2 (heavy steer urban). More tread depth and volume than the earlier model, designed primarily for waste haulers and construction fleet owners.
  5. HTL1 (heavy trailer long haul). Wide-based tire designed to replace  two trailer tires.

The new Continental truck tires will be manufactured in the company’s Mount Vernon, Illinois plant – good news for U.S. tire industry workers who have seen reduced manufacturing capacity, plant closings, and layoffs in wake of the current economic crisis. Expect the truck tires to show up in the warehouses of local wholesale tire distributors in the coming months.

Filed under: Continental Tires, Tire News, Truck Tires, Uncategorized,

2009 Tire Shipments Expected to Decline by 7%

Tire shipments are expected to fall flat again in 2009.

Tire shipments are expected to fall flat again in 2009.

After a rough year in which the tire industry saw shipments fall by nearly 9 percent, the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association doesn’t have any good news to report about their forecasts for 2009. Thanks to a sharp decline in consumer confidence, high unemployment, low sales of new cars, and less driving, the RMA expects tire shipments to fall another 7% this year.

A 7 percent drop translates to loss of roughly 21 million units to 261 million, a level that hasn’t been seen in over 15 years. The last peak occurred in 2000 when shipments reached 321 million units. Despite projections for another sour year, shipment levels are expected to rebound modestly in 2010.

Here’s a breakdown of how tire shipments were affected in 2008:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tire Business Tip #1: Sell The Visit

Welcome to a new series of posts we call “Tire Business Tips.” The goal of these posts is to provide quick tips and ideas for retailers, wholesale tire distributors, and commercial tire dealers they can use to improve their business. The economy is hitting the tire industry especially hard, and it’s more important than ever to be proactive and invest in your business. The first installment of Tire Business Tips is a great strategy that automotive businesses can use to get more customers in the door and increase the odds of a sale.

Sell the Visit!

Get customers in the door first!

Get customers in the door first!

When many managers and business owners think about ways to increase their profits, they concentrate on selling more product. While this works to an extent, its often a much a better idea to concentrate your efforts on selling the visit – that is, use your resources to get as many people in the door as possible. With a high amount of traffic, the sales will follow automatically. It’s easy to shift your efforts in this regard. For example, the next time somebody calls your shop for prices on a set of tires, don’t simply give them the price in order to get off the phone as quickly as possible. Instead, explain that their is a broad range of prices for their tires depending on their needs, ranging from X to Y. Let the customer know that the best way to make an informed purchase is to come in and talk with a customer service rep about their needs and their budget. If you can get prospects to walk in the door, you have a much higher chance of converting them into paying customers.

Do this: Examine the way you handle customer interactions such as requests for information over the phone. Tweak your approach wherever possible to stress selling the visit, not the product!

Filed under: Tire Business Tips, Tire Tips,

New Bridgestone Potenza RE-11

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 Performance Tire

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 Performance Tire

The newly announced Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 performance tire is the latest in a series of innovative street/track hybrid radials released by major tire manufacturers. The new Potenza model features “stealth” block technology originally developed for Formula One rain tires. The blocks are specially engineered to improve water evacuation and handling on wet surfaces. The tire also features special grooves cut around the circumference of the tire which help drivers avoid hydroplaning in poor weather.

The Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 is aimed at sports cars such as the Nissan 350Z and BMW 3-series, though it will come in 31 different sizes. For more information on available sizing, check with your local tire distributor.

“The RE-11 offers consumers a product that will perform well both on the street and on the track,” says Phil Pacsi, vice president, consumer marketing, U.S. and Canada Consumer Tire Sales Division, BATO.

Filed under: Bridgestone Tires, Tire News, , ,

Kumho Color Smoke Tires

Are you a big fan of drifting, but wish you could spice up the show a little bit? If so, you’ll enjoy Kumho’s color smoke tires. These tires are specially designed to release huge thick plumes of colored smoke when the tire temperatures reach 200 degree. The billowing red and blue smoke is definitely a show-stopper, perfect for competitions and special events. Take a look at this video to watch Kumho color smoke tires in action.

The Ecsta MX-C was released a few years ago, but was never intended to be sold to the general public. The colored smoke effect is achieved by adding a color addititve throughout the tread rubber which is activated by the heat produced by surface friction. The tires come in four different sizes: 225/50R16, 215/40R17, 255/40R17, and 275/40R17. Unless you need some flamboyant tires for an upcoming drift event or contest, your best bet is to stick with regular wholesale Kumho tires for now.

Kumho Ecsta MX-C Colored Smoke Tires

Kumho Ecsta MX-C Colored Smoke Tires

Filed under: Uncategorized