ERDINGTON, England—While Goodyear's global alliance with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. has shifted marketing responsibility for the Dunlop brand in North America and Europe to Goodyear, rights to the Dunlop name throughout most of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa remain with Dunlop Africa Ltd. ``It would be incorrect to assume that Goodyear will be taking over the ownership and marketing of the Dunlop brand,'' said Russell Scott, general manager of Dunlop Tyres International, the Erdington-based international marketing arm of Dunlop Africa.
``The control stays firmly with Dunlop Africa and our existing distributors,'' Mr. Scott said, seeking to dispel rumors and misinformation that have spread throughout Latin America this year.
With the exception of Mexico, French Guiana, the French overseas territories in the Caribbean (Guadaloupe, Martinique and part of St. Martin) and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, Dunlop Tyres International controls rights to the Dunlop brand throughout Latin America.
Dunlop Tyres covers the region through non-exclusive distributors in each market, Mr. Scott said.
Sales of Dunlop tires throughout this region were close to $20 million in 1998, according to Dunlop Africa financial data. This was a threefold increase over 1997, but the 1999 figure likely will be down due to the ongoing financial malaise in these markets, the company said.
The Dunlop Tyres office in Erdington was restructured in late 1998 to foster development of Latin American markets where the brand was not represented. As a result, new distributors were found in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Uruguay and several markets in Central America and the Caribbean, Dunlop Africa reported.
In all, Dunlop Africa owns the trademark rights to the Dunlop brand in 76 markets, including most of Africa—except former French colonies—and Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei in Asia.
The Americas accounted for about 10 percent of Dunlop Africa's $201 million in fiscal 1998 sales, although a portion of these sales came from off-take production of earthmover tires the company has started for Galaxy Tire & Wheel Corp.
Dunlop Africa operates two tire plants in South Africa, one in Zimbabwe, and is a minority owner of Dunlop Nigeria Ltd. Its tire sales of $141 million in fiscal 1998 ranked the company 41st among tire makers globally.