OH - The results are hard to knock, according to
Steve Myers, marketing manager for Goodyear's light truck tires.
For example, Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tire sales climbed a hefty
47 percent last year; so far this year, sales have jumped another
In addition, American-produced
Wrangler MT/Rs are being exported all over the world, specifically
to Australia, Chile, Peru, Thailand, Germany, Great Britain, Argentina
and Venezuela. The tires are manufactured at Goodyear plants in
Fayetteville, N.C., and Topeka, Kan.
Sales figures parallel
growth of the Goodyear/Skyjacker Extreme Rock Crawling Nationals,
which is drawing 15,000 to 20,000 spectators per event. Myers
said the series "serves as the perfect backdrop for our event
marketing program. Goodyear dealers participate in ride-and-drives,
which allow them to test Wrangler MT/R tires while driving a vehicle
accompanied by an off-road expert.
dealers also schedule sales events when the series comes to town.
Many of the celebrity drivers attend these events to sign autographs,"
Goodyear has spent
little on a print Wrangler MT/R advertising program, opting for
grassroots word-of-mouth and extreme off-road motorsports that
include Championship Off Road Racing, Best of the Desert racing
and its rock crawling series.
were stuck between a rock and a hard place when we introduced
Wrangler MT/R in 1999. Our partnership with the Rock Crawlers
Association of America certainly solved how we would launch the
tire and grow sales," Myers added.
The new extreme motorsport
helped highlight Goodyear's technology in tire durability and
toughness. Myers said the tire's Durawall technology, which resists
tire sidewall punctures, was vital to the tire's successful performance.
As it turned out,
timing also was crucial for a tire that's tough as nails. On the
heels of another manufacturer's tire recall, J.D. Power and Associates
said a 2001 replacement tire study showed tire reliability and
durability were the most important reasons for choosing tires.
Tire price came in second.
Late last year, Goodyear
marketers polled U.S. consumers and found that emergency responsiveness
was the most important tire benefit. Reliability, durability and
value followed in importance.
Skyjacker Suspensions and sanctioning body RCAA have "shared
a vision to grow and improve rock crawling competition. We've
added live commentators and scoring leader boards like golf events
to enhance fans' experience," Myers said.
An added benefit to
consumers, the same Wrangler MT/R tires that competitors use in
the rock crawling series can be purchased at the local Goodyear
retailer. The series wraps up its third season Sept. 20 and 21
in Johnson Valley, Calif.
Due to Wrangler
MT/R's success on the rocks and at off-road racetracks, a halo
effect benefits other Wrangler tire lines. "Our plans
include several surprises, such as a new supporting cast for MT/R,"
line also capitalizes from MT/R's higher margins and top-line
growth. On the rocks, the tire stands on firm ground.