GREENVILLE, S.C.-After nearly a 10-year absence, Michelin North America is reviving BFGoodrich-brand truck tires. The Greenville-based tire maker, which acquired the brand in 1990 with the purchase of Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co., is currently test marketing medium and heavy truck tires in the western U.S.
The company expects to fully implement the program by the third quarter of 1996.
When it does, the tires will be sold exclusively through independent tire dealers in the replacement market, Michelin said, with marketing and advertising directed toward that segment.
In 1985, the B.F. Goodrich Co., which then owned the brand, left the heavy-duty truck, farm and large off-the-road tire markets in a move to reduce assets and restore profitability in its Tire Group. By the end of 1989, the company also had stopped making Good-rich-brand medium truck tires.
Bringing back the BFGoodrich truck lines is consistent with Michelin's multi-brand approach in passenger and light truck tires, the company said. ``This strategy is expected to strengthen the company's relationship with truck tire dealers in the U.S.A.,'' it explained in a press release.
The new lines are ``completely different'' from other Michelin products developed for the North American market, the company said.
They will be offered at a lower price point than the Michelin brand and will not share the same performance characteristics.
Michelin said the new tires will compete favorably with competitors' tires in the regional market segment and are designed for regional application truck fleets.
The test market program involves three tread designs-steer, lug and trailer-in 12 popular standard and low profile sizes.
Michelin anticipates offering these same sizes in 1996, but is considering others.
As for a Uniroyal brand truck tire line, Michelin said it will continue to evaluate other product options. ``Michelin's objective is to provide the best tire at the best price in each segment of the market,'' the company said.
The new BFG truck tires currently are produced in Michelin's North American truck tire plants.