LOUISVILLE, Ky.-Tire retailers in the U.S. and Canada have a new brand of British-made passenger and light truck tires available to them-at prices up to 50 percent less than other brands. Akron-based Alexander Group International Inc. (AGI) has obtained long-term, exclusive rights to market Colway-brand remolded tires in North America, and debuted the product line at the recent American Retreaders' Association World Tire Conference in Louisville.
The ARA show was a particularly appropriate venue for the brand's introduction, as they are bead-to-bead remolded/remanufactured tires produced by Colway Tyres Ltd. in Durham, England, one of the largest passenger tire retreaders in Europe.
According to Gary Oliver, sales and marketing director for Colway, the company has spent upwards of $6.5 million (4 million British pounds) over the past four years or so to upgrade and modernize its plant outside Durham, where it plans to produce 1.5 million passenger and LT units this year in more than 200 different tire sizes and styles.
AGI plans to offer a complete line of Colway tires, but will focus on the performance end of the market, said President Alexander J. MacLean Jr., where offerings run the gamut of speed ratings up to and including V (150 mph), with aspect ratios as low as 45.
The company will market the line like a private brand, offering exclusive territories and providing marketing assistance to dealers, which will include promoting their status as a recycled product, Mr. MacLean said.
Colway tires represent ``a quality product at a value price,'' he said, and carry a four-year free replacement warranty against failures due to defects in workmanship or materials. Colway has experienced an adjustment rate of less than 0.5 percent, Mr. MacLean said.
Though the tires are not warranted for treadwear, users can expect up to 90 percent of the original equipment life, Colway said.
Colway Tyres' plant is certified to ISO 9002 international quality-control standards, and its products are independently tested to the same European standard required of new tires (ECE 30), Mr. Oliver said.
AGI currently is seeking dealers in the U.S. and Canada interested in handling the Colway brand, and is focusing on multi-outlet retailers who can purchase in container loads, Mr. MacLean said. However, in some parts of the country, the company likely will distribute the tires through independent wholesalers, he said.
As sales volumes increase, AGI plans to send casings to England, which Colway will process and return for sale in North America, Mr. MacLean said. Eventually, the companies intend to establish a joint-venture production facility in the United States, he added.