SAN DIEGO-It may be an understatement that Hoosier Racing Tire Corp.'s 1994 exit from Winston Cup and Busch Series racing-due, in part, to high costs and tough competition-disappointed officials at Continental General Tire Inc. (CGT). However, during CGT's recent international dealer conference in San Diego, Walter S. Stashkiw, vice president, marketing for the company's passenger/light truck division, stressed that Hoosier Racing is still involved with a number of aspects of NASCAR racing. And CGT is planning to dovetail promotions around various motorsports events throughout the year.
Through the marketing of the CGT-made Hoosier Performance Radial street tires-and complementary Hoosier light truck line-the tire manufacturer has worked hard to capitalize on ``the other'' Hoosier's status on the racing circuit.
The popularity of Hoosier street radials-thanks to Hoosier's racing successes, Mr. Stashkiw said-enhances brand awareness for General and Continental tires, as well.
``We don't have to build brand awareness for Hoosier,'' he said, with CGT President Bernd Frangenberg adding that ``Hoosier was a tremendous seller last year.''
CGT will play off Hoosier's popularity in its marketing of all General tires, Mr. Stashkiw said. From now on, advertisements will mention that Hoosier street radials are made by General in order to help build brand awareness for CGT and end public misconception that CGT owns Hoosier Racing.
``It also helps us get Hoosier more into our marketing campaign strategy,'' he added.
Looking for ways to promote its link to Hoosier, last year CGT even considered branding ``Hoosier by General'' on the sidewalls of its street radials, Mr. Stashkiw said. But the company nixed that idea, he explained, fearing it would ``dilute'' the Hoosier brand name-and demand for the product.
CGT does not share any technology with Hoosier Racing, he said, but only has a licensing and marketing agreement with the firm to use the Hoosier name. And while the Lakeville, Ind.-based firm is only interested in making ``pure'' racing tires, Mr. Stashkiw said, ``they certainly don't mind the added publicity from their name on our tires.''