QUINCY, Ill.-Titan Wheel International Inc. has announced a definitive agreement to sell its Tractech subsidiary, which makes no-spin differentials, to a joint venture between a group of private investors and Citicorp Venture Capital Ltd. At the same time, Titan said it has signed a letter of intent to purchase the specialty wheel division of France's Delachaux, including manufacturing facilities outside Paris and in the city of Saint Georges, France.
The Quincy-based company also revealed it expects its third-quarter earnings to fall below the estimates of Wall Street analysts ``mainly due to reduced earnings in the tire aftermarket brought about by strong pricing pressure,'' compounded by a strike at one of its wheel plants.
Titan remains strongly committed to the aftermarket, however. ``Titan...plans to expand our aftermarket tire sales, with the ultimate goal of making aftermarket tire sales 50 percent of total sales,'' said Titan President and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr.
The Tractech sale is part of Titan's overall strategy to focus on its core business of supplying wheel/tire assemblies to the agricultural and construction markets, the company said.
Tractech's sales are projected to be about $25 million in 1996, Titan said, while annual sales of Delachaux's wheel division are somewhat higher than that.
The addition of the Delachaux unit will put Titan's European sales close to $170 million in 1997-up from $3 million in 1993.
AKRON-A four-year project between Michelin Americas Truck Tires (MATT) and a computer software company could one day provide the tire maker, and possibly its dealers, with new sales tools to manage increasingly complex tire lines.
For years, Michelin has provided product information for an interactive tire selector embedded in software developed by CWC Inc. and used by the sales staffs of Freightliner Corp., General Motors Corp. and Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corp. and their dealers.
The multimedia software allows new-truck salespeople to communicate benefits and performance specifications while they custom-configure commercial vehicles for their customers.
Participating in the software with the truck manufacturers ``strengthens the ties with our OE partners,'' according to Marc Laferriere, market segment manager for MATT.
MATT also is looking at partnering with CWC or another software company to develop similar software with additional manufacturers, Mr. Laferriere said.
``I definitely see a future in computer-aided sales tools,'' Mr. Laferriere said, adding it is too early to discuss what those tools could be once they are developed.
Based in Mankato, Minn., CWC markets its Signature Plus software as a quick, easy way for salespeople to present product benefits to their customers in a multimedia format.
Easy access to the specifications and benefits of the tires in Michelin's expanding product lines could help dealers and company sales reps better match the proper tire with a particular end-user's needs, Mr. Laferriere said.