FRANKFURT, Germany—Group Michelin will revamp its passenger and light truck tire aftermarket brand strategy in Europe next year, making the BFGoodrich brand a broadline offering alongside its Michelin and Kleber flag brands. The change—under Michelin's ownership, BFG has been offered in Europe solely as a light truck product—is designed to help Michelin dealers round out their portfolios more effectively and help Michelin skew its product mix more toward higher-value-added tire lines, a spokesman said at the recent Frankfurt International Motor Show.
The company acknowledged recently that earnings from its European operations did not meet expectations, in part because the company had built too many lower-end tires and not enough higher-end ones.
``Forecasting has not been one of our strengths lately,'' the spokesman said.
The company already is taking steps to place greater emphasis on its higher-end products, such as winter and performance tires, he added.
In addition to the flag brands—defined as ones that are original-equipment quality, selective but not exclusive, and ones the company is prepared to market/advertise broadly—Michelin will offer two associate brands: Riken and Kormorant.
Riken is a brand Michelin acquired through its joint venture in Japan with Okamoto Industries, and Kormorant is the house brand of its Stomil Olsztyn subsidiary in Poland.
The company will continue to make private brands, but will be more selective in its choices and mix, the spokesman said. This approach is similar to recent stra-tegic moves the tire maker has made in North America.
To promote the relaunch of the BFG brand into the passenger car tire arena, Michelin will support a new racing series, European Roadster Challenge (EUROC).
Michelin will provide specially engineered BFG racing tires to the new series, which will feature roadsters with front engines and rear-wheel-drive chassis; competitors will be able to choose from among several 4-liter, V-8 engines.