Bridgestone around the clock

Responding to growing consumer demand for extended warranties on products, Bridgestone/Firestone Canada has launched a round-the-clock roadside assistance program for its two main brands of passenger and light truck tires.Under the new national program, called 24-hour Tire Roadside Assistance, Bridgestone/Firestone will...

Responding to growing consumer demand for extended warranties on products, Bridgestone/Firestone Canada has launched a round-the-clock roadside assistance program for its two main brands of passenger and light truck tires.

Under the new national program, called 24-hour Tire Roadside Assistance, Bridgestone/Firestone will foot the bill if, for any reason, a Bridgestone or Firestone brand tire needs to be changed along the side of the road.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bridgestone/Firestone of Nashville, Tenn.

Stuart Ballantyne, manager of public relations for the Canadian operation, says the company has hired an independent roadside service firm to respond to customer calls for assistance.

The program, which went into effect Feb. 22, is similar to the roadside assistance programs launched in recent years by almost every car marketer in North America.

Customers requiring assistance call a central 1-800 number and a local service vehicle is dispatched to look after them.

Ballantyne says the program will not lead to an increase in tire prices, adding, today’s consumers want better value, which he says can be provided ‘in the form of a discount or in the form of additional service.’

Canadians buy about two million tires annually.

Over the past several years, Bridgestone/Firestone, which has 100 Firestone Tire and Automotive Centres, has been raising the level of the warranty coverage it offers on its products.

Since 1991, the company, which also distributed its brands through a large network of unaffiliated retailers, has offered 24-hour roadside assistance on some of its large truck tires.

In 1992, it began replacing its premium-priced Bridgestone brand tires damaged as a result of road hazards.

Last year, it rolled out the same coverage on its mid-priced Firestone line.

For a short period in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bridgestone/Firestone provided road hazard guarantees on some of its products, but then dropped the program.

Ballantyne says the reappearance of the coverage is evidence of the increasing consumer demand for greater product value.

Meanwhile, the company is in the process of revamping its store interiors in a bid to make it easier for consumers to shop.

Under the new design concept, which Bridgestone/ Firestone calls ‘The Tire Zone at Firestone,’ tire products are displayed, according to type, in specific areas of the store.

As well, color-coded signage clearly indicates price ranges.