RAPALLO, Italy (April 21, 2000)—Marangoni S.p.A. will begin selling passenger and industrial tires in North America later this year, starting with distribution on the East and West Coasts before moving to markets further inland.
Marangoni, the world´s 46th-largest tire maker, expects to sell between 150,000 and 200,000 car tires in the U.S. in 2001, according to Andrea Vassura, head of Marangoni´s tire division. The company expects to recruit five distributors this year to cover the targeted marketplaces, Mr. Vassura said.
Overseeing the company´s efforts in North America is Thomas J. McNamara, who has 25 years´ tire industry experience with Michelin North America Inc. and Sumitomo Tire/Treadways Corp. Mr. McNamara has been named vice president of sales for Marangoni Tires, based in Walnut Creek, Calif.
The company will concentrate on its Zeta, Heron and Trio high performance and Meteo winter tire offerings, Mr. McNamara said, hoping to position them at the upper edge of the second tier of tire brands, competing with brands such as Dunlop.
For Marangoni, the ideal dealership candidate operates between 20 and 50 stores in areas where customers use either high-performance tires or winter tires, and who wants to offer a high-performance, prestigious European brand, Mr. Vassura said.
The initial dealer search likely will include a few combined retail/ wholesale dealerships, Mr. McNamara added, to provide the company access to smaller dealers as well. Otherwise, he said, shipments will be containerload only.
Marangoni Tires will strive to offer exclusive territories in selected geographical areas, Mr. McNamara added. Shipments of industrial tires will be containerload only.
Marangoni, better known in North America as a supplier of retreading equipment and supplies, has been a new-tire manufacturer since 1988, when it took over a former Ceat S.p.A. plant in Anangi, Italy, south of Rome. The company reported $86 million in sales of new tires and $42 million more in retreaded tires in 1998.
Marangoni´s aspirations in North America coincide with recently divulged plans to build a second, $200 million factory in Europe within the next few years.