A new series of product launches by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. shows the company is doing a lot more than just kicking the tires on ecommerce.

In January, Goodyear, the Akron, Ohio-based tire maker, which posted 2018 total sales of $15.50 billion, announced plans to develop and launch a new B2B portal. For the first time, business customers, including owners of small fleets of commercial vehicles and independent operators, will be able to go online to purchase tires and schedule an installation with a Goodyear-affiliated dealer.

The new ecommerce program will launch sometime in the third quarter at GoodyearTruckTires.com, the company says. “The program builds upon Goodyear’s existing ecommerce platform, which was introduced several years ago and has driven increased, incremental revenue for participating Goodyear consumer tire dealers,” says a Goodyear spokesman.

Rolling ahead with B2B ecommerce

Goodyear first rolled out an ecommerce site in 2015, but it operated only as a retail site for consumers. Now Goodyear claims it will be the first major tire maker to offer an ecommerce site for customers to purchase tires for commercial vehicles.

Details on the specific web features and the total available inventory Goodyear will offer on GoodyearTruckTires.com have yet to be released.

But Goodyear, which produced nearly 153 million tires last year, including 70.9 million for North and South America, says offering more B2B ecommerce options to dealers and operators of commercial vehicles is a priority in its growth plans.

“Positioning Goodyear’s commercial dealers to connect with customers and capture new business is one of our priorities,” says Goodyear commercial tires marketing manager Dustin Lancy. “We are in a unique position to draw on our experience with ecommerce for consumer tires and be the first to bring a commercial program to the market.”

Predicting when tires need attention

This week Goodyear also announced a new pilot program with Envoy Technologies, a provider of shared on-demand, community-based electric vehicles. The pilot is developing testing services aimed at minimizing operational downtime for vehicle fleets, Goodyear says.

Under the pilot program, Envoy is using Goodyear’s predictive tire-servicing tools for connected fleets to forecast and automatically schedule needed tire maintenance and replacement. Envoy’s fleet managers can see their fleet’s status, schedule maintenance needs and update appointments with Goodyear’s on-demand scheduling program, Goodyear says.

Envoy has deployed more than 100 vehicles and has a pipeline of 1,800 vehicles it plans to launch in major metropolitan areas, including Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Austin, Texas; Chicago; New York; Boston; Miami and Washington, D.C., the company says.

Goodyear is working with Envoy to offer more mobile and digital services to mechanics working on fleets of electric vehicles in urban markets, says Goodyear chief technology officer Chris Helsel. “With on-demand car-sharing and ride-hailing services on the rise, Goodyear is extending its fleet services business model to shared mobility providers to improve urban fleet operations,” Helsel says.

Goodyear isn’t releasing any details, such as annual web sales, on the current size of its consumer and business-to-business ecommerce program.

But Goodyear sees ecommerce as a way to keep its dealer network—and the company itself—viable in a rapidly changing transportation and manufacturing market, CEO Richard Kramer told analysts on Goodyear’s recent year-end earnings call, according to a transcript from SeekingAlpha.com. “We have demonstrated the will and commitment to adapt and evolve,” he told analysts. “We were the first tire manufacturer to move online with the launch of our e-commerce platform Goodyear.com.”