In 2018GRI entered the US market adopting a hands-on approach to expanding its business in the agricultural tire segment by working with the wholesale and retail tire dealer, Dunlap & Kyle. Mr. Rick Harris, Regional Manager of GRIUS, joins us in this segment to share his experiences.
At the inception, developing an unknown brand with an incomplete line in the US was Ricki’s challenge. In 2018, Rick visited Sri Lanka to get up-to-speed with the GRIteam, the factory, the brand, and lay hands on the products. “Having worked for Dunlap & Kyle for over 19 years, I quickly recognized GRI tires are high quality, well supported, and a profitable line for the US tire market,” explained Mr. Harris.
FollowingRick’s visit, 11 Dunlap and Kyle locations in the US signed up to sell GRI agricultural and industrial tires. GRI’s principle to not create competition in the same territory was an advantage that helped convince Dunlap & Kyle to begin a relationship with GRI. Pricing was a crucial factor and GRI tweaked pricing to position the product correctly and remain competitive in the US market. Dunlap& Kyle promoted GRI tires as GREEN EX, which is the sub-brand for its agriculture tires.
Cordrey, Madison, TN answered the phone with ‘It’s GREENEX Rick’ to which Rick responded,‘that’s right Ty it’s GREENEX and a Ham’. That exchange developed into a marketing promotion called GREENEX& Ham Try em’ you’ll like em’ – 4 GREEN EX tires for an Easter Ham. The promotion provided the sales team of Dunlap & Kyle a reason to boost the brand on the phone and their online store. This promotional campaign returned a noteworthy increase in sales in all locations. In addition, ‘Planting Confidence’ tours were completed in 12states over a period of nine months. Rick visited with many of Dunlap &Kyle’s dealers making the ‘Planting Confidence’ tour a great success. GRI launched another promotional program with the GRI tagline ‘We will get you there!’, which produced a 30% increase in business. These campaigns provided the Dunlap& Kyle sales team opportunities to discuss and promote the GRI brand with their customers.
Customer’sresponse to GRI tires has been very positive as Mr. Harris explains, “The aesthetics of the agriculture tires are appealing. The build of the tire is sturdy, the bead area wedge cut-out, the tread design is robust, and the inner liner is substantial, which are appreciated by customers. The 45-degree bar angle with5° center overlap smoothly the ride which lasts longer and provides stability in hilly terrains.” He further explained, “A Fall 2020 test of dual650/85R38 on the front of a 300-bushel harvester was very successful. Both the farmer and Dunlap & Kyle spoke highly of the tire’s stubble & stalk resistance, roadability, flat footprint, and weight carrying capacity.”
The theCOVID-19 pandemic limited the ability of GRI to visit customers. However, Dunlap & Kyle continued providing exceptional service, tire availability and developed relationships with new as well as old dealers and their customers. Robert Dunlap told Rick early on ‘the secret to selling tires is buying them and buying them right’. The Dunlap & Kyle team did exactly that and their business has grown exponentially.