Continental announces aggressive marketing program

Continental Tire North America today, March 19, announced a major marketing initiative that will stress customer service and more informative selling. Paul Williams, the company’s executive vice president of commercial vehicle tires for the Americas, said the program was developed after customers told the company they had good products but were not doing enough to support fleet operations.

The program will focus on three areas: launching new products, communicating their value more effectively, and better product support. Shaun Uys, director of replacement sales, said the company’s commercial tire sales force will be increased in size by 50 percent in order to keep its products from being what customers called “the best-kept secret in the industry.”

He also announced the “Beat the Beast” fuel-saving contest. In this contest, open until May 15, select fleets, using a dedicated website, will register their comparative fuel consumption between a truck using Continental tires and an identical truck using tires from any other national brand. The rewards for the best will include prize packages and media exposure for the lowest fuel consumption in gallons per 100 miles.

“The fuel-savings capability of our tires is evident not just in our engineering technologies of reduced rolling resistance and improved compounding, but also in practice,” Uys said. “We are giving our customers the chance to demonstrate how our tires help fleets reduce their operating costs through one of the most important functions a tire can achieve.”

Enhancements to the company’s fuel-savings calculator have resulted in a new name along with increased value to fleet customers, according to Tom Fanning, director of original equipment sales for the Americas. The new ContiCostCalculator product will be launched next month in both desktop and Web-based formats.

“It takes into account a tire’s purchase price, mileage and rolling resistance to give truck fleets a true comparison of total tire cost,” Fanning said. “When fuel savings are compared with overall tire mileage, fleets that increase total miles per gallon will save on cost of ownership compared to additional running miles.”

Also critical to lowering overall driving cost is an efficient tire maintenance program, and Continental is launching the ContiTireManagement program to address this need, said Clif Armstrong, commercial vehicle tires marketing director of Continental Tire for the Americas. The program is based on industry-best practices for the tire manufacturer, the fleet and the tire dealer. ContiTireManagement uses an online portal for Continental field sales teams and select Continental Tire dealers to create individual tire maintenance programs tailored to the fleet to help lower the overall driving costs.

Fleets also will benefit from the new ContiFleet program, providing access to nationwide emergency road service for owner-operators and small fleet owners. Truckers who join ContiFleet can access 24-hour emergency road services via the Continental TrukFix hotline, and also receive guaranteed emergency service pricing, access to towing and mechanical work and information on tire maintenance best practices, Armstrong said.

Finally, the truck maker announced the release of five new Continental commercial vehicle tires: a redesign of its regional steer tire, the HSR2; a new over-the-highway longhaul drive tire, the HDL2 DL; a more fuel-efficient trailer tire, the HTL Eco Plus; a new heavy steer urban tire, the HSU2; and a new wide-based super-single trailer tire, the HTL1. Armstrong said these five new tires are based on designs from customer feedback and help fleet customers achieve their “lowest overall driving costs.”