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North Carolina Dealer Beats Recession by Helping Customers Control Their Tire Costs

Clark Tire - Complete Truck & Auto Service

Clark Tire president John D. Clark takes pride in the fact that his dealership managed to grow its business over the last year even though the heart of its territory — the Greater Hickory, N.C., area, suffers from the highest unemployment rate in the state and among the highest in the nation at 15.4 percent.

“Even though a lot of trucking companies have gone under and there's a lot of chaos in the marketplace, our truck tire team has still managed to overcome all of this and continue growing our business for the fourth, fifth and sixth years in a row,” said Clark, who is also son of company founder, John A. Clark. “It's a testament to the hard work and persistence of our sales force and service technicians that we've managed to grow our business over the last several years.”

Clark said he believes that the hard work and persistence of his sales and service staff members are among the chief reasons why Clark Tire succeeds in sales and why the company has earned Goodyear's “Dealer of the Month” award for the month of September.

Clark Tire was recently chosen as Goodyear's “Dealer of the Month” for providing customers outstanding service, while helping them to choose from among the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly tire brands. Goodyear's “Dealer of the Month” honor also recognizes Clark Tire for helping customers make full use of Goodyear services, such as fleetHQ and TVTRACK and G-TRACS automated retread tracking system.

“We're delighted and proud to be receiving this award,” Clark said. “Our success has also come largely due to the innovative and quality products we've been able to offer through the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly lines. Our company has been in business selling Goodyear products for 66 years. The products that Goodyear has introduced recently through these lines have been the best we've seen. It really helps when we have Goodyear behind us.”

Clark Tire - Complete Truck & Auto Service

Clark Tire was founded by John A. Clark in Hickory, N.C., in 1943. The company has grown to 16 retail locations, two commercial truck tire centers, a retread plant, and three wholesale distribution centers. Its primary store and headquarters and retreading plant are located in Hickory, an area about 60 miles northwest of Charlotte that's home to many furniture and textile manufacturing facilities.

“What people are after when they come to our stores are good products and good service at a good price,” said Cliff Motz, general manager of Clark Tire's Commercial Tire Division. “Because of the amount of research and development that Goodyear has been putting into its products such as the Goodyear DuraSeal Technology and Fuel Max Technology, the company is light years ahead of the competition and our existing and potential customers see that.”

Cost-conscious buyers also have the choice of Dunlop and Kelly tires, which can offer them great results at a good price, he added.

Tire retreading is another reason why Clark Tire succeeds in gaining market share, he said. Clark Tire operates a retread plant, which employs the precure method of retreading, along with a commercial tire location in Hickory.

“One hundred percent of our customers use retreaded tires on one position or another on the tractor or the trailer,” Motz said. “Retreading allows them to get more value out of the tires' original treads. Plus, it allows them to incorporate green measures into their fleet operations by helping to keep as many tires out of the local landfills.”

Motz said by far one of the most valuable resources Clark Tire has been able to draw upon is fleetHQ. With fleetHQ, Clark Tire customers have one number: 866-fleetHQ (866-353-3847), to call for emergency roadside tire service throughout the United States and Canada. And they pay the same price for their tires that they would pay Clark Tires.

“I have been here for 25 years, and fleetHQ has been the best service we've been able to offer our customers by far,” Motz added. “Through fleetHQ our customers are able to control and track their expenses associated with emergency roadside tire services.”

Motz said by providing customers outstanding service coupled with good products, Clark Tire has gained their customers' trust. Clark Tire technicians regularly visit customers and do regular air pressure checks on their trucks. They also conduct scrap tire analysis to help customers get the most miles to removal from their tires.

Though this year has been a challenging one for the dealership and its customers, Motz said the dealership still held new product training for its associates. Clark Tire also held an open house at its primary store and retread plant in Hickory at the culmination of a two-day sales blitz. The open house offers Clark Tire the opportunity to show customers the new products and services Goodyear introduces. The annual open house and two-day sale blitz resulted in the sale of 300 new truck tires and retreads, plus a trailer load of Goodyear regional steer tires.

“Our sales reps hand deliver the invitations,” Motz said. “And even though this year has been a difficult one for most if not all of our customers, the turnout was still our best ever.”

“What motivates us is being in the position to be taking away business from our competitors,” Clark added. “Having a knowledgeable, well-trained staff with access to Goodyear products and services that help customers control their tire-related costs certainly makes it a lot easier to do that.”