Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 16

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

EMBEDDED ADVISERS

 Dealer Tire supplies full-time sales consultants to select dealerships

D

RICHARD TRUETT
rtruett@crain.com

ealer Tire is expanding an initiative
that places its sales consultants in
the service lanes of new-vehicle
dealerships. These consultants sell
tires directly to customers and train the dealerships' service advisers in tire sales.
The company's leaders, Scott and Dean
Mueller, are reluctant to divulge many details
about the program, which has been operating
for several years.
Participating dealers pay Dealer Tire for the
presence of the on-site retail expert, called a
tire service adviser.
The amount that dealers pay varies, but decreases as tire sales increase. Some tire manufacturers subsidize the cost of the program.
Dave VandeLinde, the new director of service and parts operations at Hyundai Motor
America, previously was service director of
Kuni Lexus in Portland, Ore., which works
with an on-site Dealer Tire adviser.
If a dealership's tire sales are low, VandeLinde said, it could cost $4,000 a month to
keep the tire adviser in the service lane. But
that cost could dip to $1,000 a month when
sales are high, he added.
"It's got to pencil," VandeLinde said in an in-

terview when he was still with Kuni Lexus. "It's
not cheap."
Dealer Tire declined to comment on the
program's pricing.
Kuni Lexus brought in the adviser to boost
service customer retention, VandeLinde said:
"He's really a specialist."
The Dealer Tire program also enables dealerships to make money on highly profitable
spiffs sold with tires, such as alignments and
tire care packages.

Help wanted
This month, Dealer Tire's website showed 16
job openings in 12 states for tire service advisers. Among other duties, the adviser inspects
service customers' vehicles and consults with
them about replacement tires and tire repairs.
Sonic Automotive, which operates 112 dealerships, has tire service advisers at all of its
high-volume stores, says David Padgett, the
public dealership group's vice president of
fixed operations. Some of the company's dealerships, he says, have doubled their tire sales
to nearly 1,000 tires a month.
Sonic asks Dealer Tire to assign a tire service
adviser once a dealership achieves a certain
number of repair orders, Padgett says. At first,
the cost can be about as much as Sonic pays

TIRES

continued from Page 14

a website that helps consumers buy tires installed at new-vehicle dealerships.
Consumers enter their vehicle's year, make
and model, answer questions about their
driving styles, and are given several choices of
tires. They can order the tires online and set
an appointment at the dealership from the
web page.
The company is experimenting with placing
the RightTurn.com platform on dealers' websites as well. To check out an example involving a Toyota dealership, go to: autonews.
com/rightturn.
"The consumer can buy the tires online at
the dealer's website, schedule an appointment online, and have the tires installed,"
Scott Mueller says. "That helps dealers make
their customers aware they sell tires, and gives

PAGE 16

AUGUST 2017

FRANCIS E. MILLER

Dealer Tire's lobby features portraits of
science visionaries.
them an integrated tool to close the deal."
Dealer Tire also offers what it calls its Dynamic Retail Selling Guide, which gives dealers competitive information about tire pricing
that is specific to their markets.
"We analyze 10 million tire prices a month
in different markets," Dean Mueller says. "The
dealers, if they follow certain guidelines, are

for one of its own service advisers. But the expense decreases as tire sales rise, Padgett adds.
"It's an awesome investment," he says. "They
are the tire experts who help us facilitate the
sale. When you are on the [service] drive and
you are doing a point of sale, you only get
about 15 minutes with the customer.
"You need to be able to know that you can
procure the right set of tires and get it on the
customer's car," Padgett says. "With Dealer
Tire, we are able to see exactly how much we
have in stock."

'Cultural change'
Jim Lang, an auto parts market analyst, says
the tire adviser program benefits Dealer Tire
as well as its dealership clients.
"An old-line service writer probably doesn't
care much about tires," Lang says. "A cultural
change has to take place. You have to make
him aware that he is not just selling tires, he's
selling an expanded relationship with the vehicle owner."
Dealer Tire CEO Scott Mueller calls the tire
adviser program an "experiment." He concedes it requires a participating dealership to
develop a high-volume tire business.
"We prefer to teach people how to fish instead of fish for them," Mueller says. 
more than competitive."
The Muellers concede that their efforts to
help dealers sell more tires won't work unless
service directors maintain a clear sales process and train service advisers to follow it.
"Training is something that never ends,"
Dean Mueller says. "It always evolves. One of
the challenges the industry has is just getting
qualified people in the service drive."
The Mueller brothers say it's OK with them
that the Dealer Tire name is not well known
outside of the industry. More important, Dean
Mueller says, is that "consumers know the
dealer can serve them."
"The best thing we see is when you buy a
new car, the salesman takes you back to the
service department and introduces you to the
service adviser, and he says: 'Whatever you
need, including tires, I can help you with.'
"I can tell you when I started calling on dealers
in the 1980s, that sure as hell didn't happen." 


http://www.RightTurn.com http://autonews.com/rightturn http://autonews.com/rightturn

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Contents
Need a lift
Tire track
Mobility devices
Times to recall
Slick trick
Fatal fire
Players club
Online parts
Lean inventory
Loyalty test
Patent pending
Open minded
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Richard Truett
Feedback
Five Minutes With
Letters
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 9
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Need a lift
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Tire track
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 14
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Mobility devices
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 22
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Times to recall
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Slick trick
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fatal fire
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Players club
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Online parts
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 35
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Lean inventory
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 37
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Loyalty test
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Patent pending
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 41
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Open minded
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover4
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