NAPLES, Fla.—TBC Corp. introduced eight new tires and new merchandising support for its Cordovan and Multi-Mile brands during its recent annual marketing meeting.
It also announced lower pricing on its entry-level Sonar brand.
The Memphis, Tenn.-based tire marketer reduced prices 3 to 7 percent Jan. 1 on the Sonar S-505 performance, S-665 passenger, S-780 metric and Trail Scout light truck tires.
The move is designed to make the line more competitive and convenient to order, TBC said.
Distributors now can order Sonar passenger and light truck tires from TBC warehouses in Fayetteville, N.C., and Memphis, rather than having to buy them in truckload shipments, as before.
That allows distributors to add in Sonar passenger and light truck tires with their truckload purchases of other TBC lines.
"In other words, you can order Sonar tires, one at a time with other merchandise, at virtually the truckload price," said Glen Gravatt, senior vice president of marketing and product procurement, to the more than 300 dealers and distributors attending the Naples meeting, Jan. 14-17.
He also detailed several updates to TBC's Multi-Mile and Cordovan brands, providing updated lines in key profit segments.
In the performance tire category, the private-brand company introduced the Multi-Mile Grand AM GT and the Cordovan Grand Prix Performance, each with new tread designs, Mr. Gravatt said.
The tires are designed to deliver excellent traction and handling, he said, and offer a look to fit today's contemporary cars. The outlined white letter sizes will carry an S speed rating, while the 60-series black sizes will be T speed rated.
TBC will begin stocking the tires late in the third quarter.
At the value position, TBC has updated the Cordovan Criterion and Multi-Mile Epic broadline tires.
The new tires, the Criterion II and Epic Plus, feature individual tread designs and have a touring tire look, Mr. Gravatt said. They carry a UTQG rating of 440 AB.
Production of these tires will begin in May with shipments commencing in June.
In the radial light truck tire replacement segment, where TBC enjoys a 10.5-percent share of market, the company is introducing the four tires to address the different types of tread designs demanded by today's sport-utility vehicle owners.
"Depending on the vehicle and use, tread design becomes an issue with respect to consumer expectations," said Ken Dick, TBC's executive vice president of sales.
Some SUV owners seek smooth, quiet rides, with acceptable mileage, he said. These drivers prefer P-metric designs and, in the case of the new luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX470, are seeking premium performance versions.
Other drivers want an aggressive truck tire look and are rapidly replacing P-metric designs with LT constructions.
To meet these demands, TBC is introducing both P-metric and LT versions of its Cordovan Wild Trac and Multi-Mile Wild Country lines. These tires replace the Wild Trac RVT and the Wild Country RVT.
The P-metric designs will feature individual treads and sidewalls in the Cordovan Wild Trac Radial A/T and Multi-Mile Wild Country Radial SUV versions. The tires will "offer the rugged looks of a light truck tire but with the quietness, comfort and handling of a luxury passenger tire," Mr. Gravatt said.
They will carry a TBC-backed 40,000-mile limited mileage warranty, which, he said, may be a first for a private-brand light truck tire.
The tires will come in 16 sizes to cover "virtually every OE application available in today's market," Mr. Gravatt said.
As for the LT versions of these tires, TBC is calling them the Cordovan Wild Trac LTR and the Multi-Mile Wild Country Trail XTS.
These tires, too, will have their own unique tread designs and sidewall lettering to maintain exclusivity in the market, Mr. Gravatt said.
They combine off-road durability and aggressive looks with a comfortable ride, he said.
TBC will begin offering these tires in August and September in more than 30 LT sizes for each.
Also new for 2001, TBC will begin importing the Fulda Attiro from Germany.
This high-performance tire, which will be in offered in five H- and V-rated sizes, gives TBC three Fulda lines.
The Attiro joins the Fulda Assuro, an H-rated rated tire, and the Z-rated Fulda Extremo, both of which TBC began marketing exclusively in the U.S. in 1997.
TBC also is upgrading its merchandising materials for the Cordovan and Multi-Mile brands, including giving them each new slogans.
The company had performed a similar upgrade for its Sigma brand last year, said Jim Pascover, TBC director of communications, and wanted to further differentiate the other two brands.
Based on the slogan "A revolution on the road," TBC is positioning Cordovan as a "revolutionary brand," Mr. Pascover said.
To help retailers convey that message, TBC has developed new banners, posters, tire centers and graphics support for retail displays. The Multi-Mile merchandising materials have gotten a similar update under the new slogan—New Rules. New Ride. They identify the brand as "dynamic," with tires for every customer's needs, Mr. Pascover said.