DES MOINES, Iowa-The new maker of Armstrong farm tires has earmarked the brand's rhinoceros mascot for extinction. ``When was the last time you saw a rhino running around on a farm?'' asked Maurice Taylor Jr., president and CEO of Titan Tire Corp., which bought Pirelli Arm-strong Tire Corp.'s Des Moines farm tire plant in August.
Titan has a licensing agreement with Pirelli Armstrong, allowing it to use the Armstrong brand name. But Mr. Taylor said he is ditching the traditional rhino and opting for a mascot more representative of Titan's attitude and business segment: a red, charging bull.
He plans to emblazon the bull-in red-on every tire the company makes.
``We're going to put a little spice'' in the life of the tire industry, said Mr. Taylor, who also is president and CEO of Quincy, Ill.-based Titan Wheel International Inc., parent of Titan Tire.
Mr. Taylor is a relative newcomer to the tire business. His company made steel wheels for farm, construction, military, grounds care and recreational vehicles until November 1993, when Titan bought Dyneer Corp., parent of industrial tire maker Dico Tire Inc.
Despite his newness to the field, Mr. Taylor has a definite goal for his tire business. ``We're going to be a name to be reckoned with. We are going to be the No. 1 specialty tire producer in the world.''
The firm has no plans to make passenger tires, Mr. Taylor said, but he's not afraid to take pot shots at the industry's giants. ``A bull looks better on (specialty tires) than a shoe with a pair of wings does.''
As for Pirelli Armstrong, the firm will continue to make passenger and light truck tires under the Armstrong brand name and will retain its trusty rhino mascot, a.k.a. ``Tuffy,'' for those lines.