Comebacks take strong leadership, bravery, unwavering commitment to quality, and to be blunt – quite a set… of tires that is. But more about their new tires in a moment…
Earlier this year I was able to spend some time with the folks from Bridgestone / Firestone Canada at their Mississauga head office here in Ontario. And to say that the office was buzzing would be a monumental understatement.
They were excited, and they had every right to be. Jim Schmidt (General Manager – Consumer Products Canada) proudly showed me their latest ‘prize’. Bridgestone / Firestone Canada Inc (BFCA) had recently been awarded first place ranking in the 2004 Canadian Customer Commitment Study conducted by J. D. Powers and Associates.
Rightly Proud Of Their New Rating
Canadian consumers listed the Firestone Service Centre operating under the retail names Firestone Tire + Automotive Centres and GCR Tire Centres, as number one in the category “Highest Overall Customer Satisfaction Among Service Providers. ” Jim told me that in recognition of the award, BFCA had issued personal trophies to each of the 75 Firestone Tire + Automotive, and 43 GCR Tire Centres all across Canada.
During my visit I was fortunate to meet many great people, and rather than turning this article into a weak version of an ‘Oscar thank you speech’ I’ll mention just two more names: Michael Sigillito (Director of Canadian Consumer Tire Marketing) and Michele Amirault (Promotions Specialist) - “Thanks!”
The NEW Firestone Firehawk Family
Michele and Michael gave me the grand tour and patiently answered all my questions. I was even shown their latest addition to the Firestone Firehawk tire line: the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval. There are three tires in the immediate family: Firehawk Wide Oval, Firehawk INDY 500 (with UNI-T) and the Firehawk Racing Slick. The Wide Oval is one very cool looking tire. Sure every tire looks good when they’re clean and black, but the Firehawk Wide Oval just seemed to have something special.
When I asked about the tire, Michele and Michael told me that the designers had drawn their inspiration from the retro days of muscle cars and machismo. I’d say the designers succeeded. Offering racing inspired performance, this ultra-high performance tire delivers superb traction and handling in wet and dry conditions. And did I mention it looks damn good too – somehow it just looks “right”.
And the Firehawk INDY 500 has an equally inspired heritage. Paying tribute to the performance of the original racing slick, this tire was adapted from some of the technology originally developed for professional drivers racing at speeds up to 200 mph. Again, this tire offers excellent handling in all conditions making this S- and T- speed rated tire ideal for all-season driving. Call me a classicist, but I like the white lettering and the sidewall design. Again, another tire that delivers.
Manufacturing their first class tires, BFCA utilises “The Ultimate Network Of Intelligent Tire Technology. ” Otherwise known as UNI-T it includes CO-CS (Computer Optimized Component System) which optimizes tire tread design, casing shape, materials and construction based on performance. UNI-T also includes O-BEAD, these technologies allow for performance improvements between the tire and wheel interaction. And finally UNI-T makes use of LL-Carbon (Long Link). LL-Carbon reinforces and stabilizes the rubber – increasing wear resistance and helping reduce chipping, cracking and tearing.
Additional technology benefits of UNI-T included the use of Silica for improved traction in the wet. Specially designed pattern tread blocks to provide uniform contact pressure between the tire and the road surface – again improving handling in all conditions, and the reduction of irregular wear (think quieter ride. ) Finally the spiral wrapping within the tire helps the tire hold its shape better and improves overall hi-speed capabilities.
Not one to shy away from making brave moves, BFCA offers some of the best tire warranty’s in the industry. The 30 Day Trial has to be one of them. A customer can purchase their choice of tires, have them installed and drive away. Any time within the next 30 days, if they ‘are not completely satisfied’ they may return the tires for a full refund of the purchase price. Now that’s a powerful guarantee! Add to that a 3 year limited warranty and it’s clear…
Bridgestone and Firestone are back, and offering products, services and guarantees like this, why would you choose any other tire manufacturer?