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BUZZ: Goodyear Gaining Traction with Endurance

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October 11, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

If you believe some of the RVing public’s Internet rants, it’s not a matter of if your travel trailer tires will blow, but when. Of course, these posts almost always leave out excessive speed, improper inflation and other user errors – not to mention road conditions – which are certainly contributing factors in any tire failure.

Regardless, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio, has enjoyed undeniable success with the launch earlier this year of its Endurance line of trailer tires.

At the product launch in January, Ryan Patterson, president of Goodyear’s North American consumer tire business, said Endurance is “the only radial special trailer tire built in the United States” and it was an “an exciting development for consumers who want a durable, domestically manufactured tire that they can trust to carry their important cargo.”

The Endurance line – which contains six of the industry’s fastest growing SKUs plus a new tire size for the industry, 255/85R16 – hits on every criteria most RVers are looking for: they are produced in the United States at facilities in Gadsden, Ala., and Fayetteville, N.C.; are available in Load Ranges D and E to accommodate larger trailer load capacities; feature Goodyear Durawall Technology, which helps resist sidewall cuts and punctures; and carry the N speed rating allowing consumers to travel at highway speeds.

And it’s not just consumers who have taken notice. Several RV manufacturers outfitted their product with the Endurance as standard equipment including Jayco Inc., Airstream Inc. and Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp., to name a few.

Recently, Doug Grassian, director of North American consumer communications for Goodyear – which employs about 66,000 people and manufactures its products in 48 facilities in 21 countries – answered a few questions from RVBUSINESS.com.

Doug Grassian

RVB: What did Goodyear see in the marketplace that led to the development of the Endurance?

Grassian: Goodyear, as a company, has a lot of different research methods. We’re very closely connected with what’s going on in the marketplace. So, not only are we listening to what individual consumers are saying and wanting and needing, but also we’ve got tools in place to understand what our dealer customers are asking for. So, at a number of different levels we hear and understand what’s going on in the marketplace.

This is one of those products that we understood was being asked for, and Goodyear is focused on a market-back approach to developing tires for consumers. So, if someone’s asking for it, we’re going to deliver it. We’re not going to make products that we would like to make; we’re going to make products that consumers want. And this is one of those products that fits perfectly under that attitude.

Simply stated, we wanted to develop the best special trailer tire in North America, and give consumers the opportunity to buy a premium trailer tire.

We’ve heard input from consumers and customers on products that weren’t necessarily delivering performance, so taking all that in and knowing that Goodyear can deliver very quality products, we knew there was an opportunity here for us, and you’re seeing a lot of that reaction out there in the marketplace.

RVB: And what kind of reaction have you seen?

Grassian: We’ve had a great reaction from consumers. We have a multitude of anecdotes from consumers who enjoy the new product and we have received ample recognition for the Endurance in the media. There was just a letter from a reader published in Trailer Life magazine who talks about his trip from Michigan to Yellowstone National Park, and how happy he was with his Endurance tires.

It’s consumers like him who purchase the product and are excited. And, once they use it, we’re hearing great stories of trailers tracking better and gas mileage improvement.

You see it out there in reviews on the Internet and you see it out there from endorsements in third-party media. It’s nice to hear that kind of feedback for a product you knew was going to deliver, but it’s great when you finally hear from satisfied consumers and customers – not just the general consumer, but some of our OE partners. We’re very pleased to hear that.

RVB: Are you able able to share sales figures or production numbers?

Grassian: We don’t release figures, but it can safely be said sales continue to increase and are on pace to surpass sales of the predecessor product.

The one thing we can say is, in terms of performance, it’s surpassed what we were hoping for. It’s certainly a well-performing product for us and we will consider that performance with how we move forward in terms of increasing (production) or whatever else we might do. We are considering all of our options, considering the product has done so well.

RVB: Could you explain some of the technology that makes the Endurance a better tire?

Grassian: Endurance has a new, ground-up design incorporating the latest mold and cavity technology, as well as compound technology. Some of the features include: Goodyear’s patented Durawall Technology, which helps prevent cuts and punctures to the sidewalls; a specialized inner liner that minimizes air loss because of its construction with 100% halobutyl rubber; and a new decoupling groove in the tread design, allowing the tires to remain cool while towing heavy loads.

RVB: Why did Goodyear opt for domestic production of the Endurance?

Grassian: From the time of its launch, the Endurance has been sourced from both our Gadsden, Ala., and Fayetteville, N.C., facilities. Our Goodyear associates take great pride in producing these tires, and we are pleased to offer a domestic product to meet the needs of the consumers that are looking for that option. 

RVB: Was it the same market research at the consumer level that determined domestic production of the Endurance was an important factor?

Grassian: That’s right. So, you get all the features and the benefits of the product, but we knew the ability to say ‘Made in America’ was also important. And not only do we know that customers are interested in that, our Goodyear associates based here in the U.S. take great pride in producing these tires. It’s kind of a two-fold benefit for consumers and for our associates.

 

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