- Stanley Subaru gives new car buyers a "Tires for Life" guarantee to replace the tires for free when they wear out.
- To qualify, customers must follow Subaru's recommended maintenance schedule.
- Stanley Subaru has spent $2 million on new tires over 11 years.
ELLSWORTH, Maine — The best customer retention tool Stanley Subaru has found began in 2003 and continues to pick up speed every year.
New Subaru buyers receive the "Tires for Life" guarantee with each purchase. The dealership will replace the tires for free when they wear out if the customer follows Subaru's recommended maintenance schedule.
Those maintenance costs run about $800 a car, approximately the same price to replace a good set of four tires.
It's proven popular with Stanley Subaru customers, owner Mark Politte told Edmunds.
"We've put on $2 million in tires over the years," he said. "It's our version of a frequent-flyer program."
"Tires for Life" helps Stanley Subaru have one of the brand's highest customer-retention rates in the country, Politte added.
"It helps us differentiate ourselves," he said. "It does get customers returning frequently, too."
Politte stressed his employees manage the program rather than an outside vendor, which often hunts for a way to kick a participant out if they've missed an oil change because they winter in Florida, for instance.
"We've learned to be flexible over the years and customers appreciate when we work with them," he said.
Rising tire costs have forced Politte to put a $2,000 cap per customer on the "Tires for Life" program.
"If they reach the cap, it's usually a good trigger to start looking for a new car," he said.
Besides retention, the program has given the dealership's retail tire business a boost through its reputation. "We sell a lot of tires to the community because they consider us tire experts because of the program," Politte said.
Edmunds says: Stanley Subaru has made a $2 million investment in moving its loyalty business forward.