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Sentury Tire announces start of AvanTech subscription service

Sentury Tire isn’t expected to break ground in LaGrange until next year, but the company’s subscription service titled AvanTech is already up and running in the region.

The concept of a tire subscription service is new to the industry, but the website for the service is already up and running and accepting subscribers in the West Georgia region. AvanTech is set up to offer its tire subscription service out of Fryer’s Tire Center in LaGrange as well as University Tire and Auto in Auburn and Litz Tire in Newnan. The service starts at $17.95 a month for a set of four tires and covers fresh tires, repair or replacement, roadside assistance, installment and check-ups.

“We are tackling issues beyond the product, so when things don’t go to plan, when you get a nail that hits your tire, what happens?” said Frank Kim, the customer service manager for AvanTech. “Usually you are forced to buy another tire, spend extra money that would have gone to your Christmas gifts. With us, we just replace your tire whenever you need to whether the tire wears out or whether the tire is not repairable. We just want to simplify your life when it comes to tires.”

AvanTech hopes to take the pressure of having to know about tires and afford major tire purchases off of the customer.

“AvanTech takes care of your tires so you don’t have to,” said Raimo Mansikkaoja, senior vice president of operations for AvanTech. “And in the case of an emergency, AvanTech offers roadside assistance and road hazard coverage, so there are no surprises or additional costs when the tires need repair or replacement.”

The cost of replacing tires can prove prohibitive especially for drivers who need to replace all four tires. Replacing all four tires can cost over $700.

“I think it is going to fill a void in our industry where it is hard for people to come up with $700 or $800 in one purchase,” said Tracy Ward, the owner of Fryer’s Tire Center. “This is a way to stretch it out over time, and they don’t have to worry about this part of their finances.”

Ward expects for the program to ultimately encourage better tire maintenance which in turn will improve safety. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report showed that 90 fatalities and over 3,200 injuries were “probably caused by tire aging or where tire aging was a significant factor” between 2005 and 2007.

“With this program, they will get notifications for their maintenance, and it is going to help them be safer on the road because they are not going to be neglecting their product and neglecting service because it is not going to cost them when they come in,” Ward said. “I feel like that is a huge safety aspect that people tend to overlook when they start thinking about this process.”

The service will also offer assistance to subscribers who find themselves unexpectedly stranded on the side of the road.

“Another service that is included is roadside assistance,” Kim said. “If you run out of gas, they will deliver gas to you. Let’s say that you are locked out of your car, they’ll come and unlock the car for you, change your spare, even tow you. All of that is included in your subscription price, and all this is available for less than a dollar a day. If you can afford to buy four coffees from Starbucks (a month), you can afford to never buy tires again, and that is the beauty of this program.”

The idea for tires as a subscription service sprang from the popularity of other monthly subscription services.

“Tires have been sold as they are currently for decades with not much new taking place in that area, but now that you get everything on a subscription monthly fee from cars to dog treats and food coming delivered to your door,” said Rami Helminen, chief executive officer for Sentury Tire North America. “You just sign up for a monthly fee, and you get the service, so we figured that we want to do something in the same area. Subscription services are a growing area and growing economy in general, and we thought that this works well to the current situation and requirements of consumers nowadays.”

Helminen said that local partners like Fryer’s Tires will play an important role in spanning the gap between the service and its customers.

“The fact is, until the day that we have flying cars that don’t need tires, tires are a part of our daily life whether we like it or not, and for something that is so a part of our daily lives, I think for the consumer, it is good to have options,” Kim said. “Before you were only forced to purchase a tire outright. That means that you inherit all the worries and maintenance that comes with it. With us, we are trying to alleviate that and take that burden off of the consumer’s shoulders, so that they can simply enjoy the tires without ever having to take out their wallet or stress about tires.”

LaGrange was chosen as the future site of Sentury Tire in November 2016 from 42 possible sites in 12 states, and the factory is expected to break ground sometime next year. The factory will be the third opened by Sentury Tire, which already has locations in Thailand and Qingdao, China. It will be Sentury Tire’s first location in the United States.

“It started as part of the Sentury Tire project in general — us selecting the site and starting the factory project, engaging to develop the position and market in the United States,” Helminen said. “We do premium quality tires with very competitive prices, and we have an advantage in production process. It is all highly-automated process, so we thought, we just have to do something new, not just in the manufacturing side, but also for tire distribution.”

The factory is estimated to cost $530 million and is expected to employ 1,000 people when it opens. The factory should produce 12 million units annually.

To learn more about AvanTech or sign up, visit AvanTech.tires or call (888) 847-3171.