STOW, Ohio—SuperTrucks Unlimited acquired the Dick Cepek suspension and lighting lines from Max-Trac Tire Co. (M/T) on March 1 for an undisclosed amount.
SuperTrucks President Kevin Conlin said the Riverside, Calif.-based aftermarket truck parts manufacturer bought the lines because of the trusted Cepek name.
"There is a demand for quality parts, and Cepek's name is an icon in the industry, along with Mickey Thompson," Mr. Conlin said. "We feel that it's a major move for this industry not to let the Dick Cepek name die off."
M/T, which does business from Stow as Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, bought Cepek's tire, lighting and vehicle suspension divisions when it won an auction bid of $1.6 million for the Cepek name in May 2000 after Dick Cepek Inc. went bankrupt.
Roger Simmons, regional marketing manager who handles advertising and promotions for Max-Trac, said the company will keep the Cepek tire line and plans to expand development of the Fun Country and other Dick Cepek off-road and street tire lines.
The tires, well-known for their off-road prowess, now will have both the Cepek and Mickey Thompson names branded on their sidewalls.
His comments came Feb. 20 as members of the Northeast Ohio Regional Tire Dealers Association (NORTDA) toured Max-Trac's Stow facility during the group's monthly meeting.
M/T's lines include wheels and bias-ply tires for 424s, light trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
The Cepek nylon bias-ply 44-inch Fun Country tire has been redesigned and improved—"we took a lot of weight out of it," Mr. Simmons said. Meanwhile, 36- and 38-inch non-radial Kevlar aramid-belted tires are under development and prototypes are being tested by the company.
Using Kevlar, he noted, will lessen rolling resistance as well as make the tires more puncture-resistant. He predicted the new 36- and 38-inch Fun Country sizes "are going to be great sellers for us, too."
"Our concentration is on the Cepek line, trying to come out with some other tires along with the Fun Country," Mr. Simmons said.
Mickey Thompson is also doing testing on various compounds for its Baja Claw rock-crawling line and is considering expanding its street tire program, he added. All versions of its tire lines will be available from M/T's warehouse in Stow and through its new West Coast offices and warehouse in Temecula, Calif.
"The headquarters of Mickey Thompson will always be here (in Stow)," Mr. Simmons said, but with the addition of the California site "everything will be equally distributed." That warehouse will primarily ship to western states, while M/T's Ohio complex will handle distribution to eastern states.
Mr. Simmons said the acquisition of the Cepek line has helped Mickey Thompson increase its off-road line, as well as increase sales.
"Well, there's obviously less competition for us now," he said. "And it fills in—size-wise on the off-road line—where Mickey Thompson didn't have some sizes before. It gets us into the big tire market, even though it's not a large part of the business.
"Our expertise is seeing small niches and being able to turn things around much quicker than some of our bigger competitors," Mr. Simmons told Tire Business.
Meanwhile, M/T recently signed a three-year agreement to supply Avon racing tires for the U.S. F2000 National Championship next year. It will fall under M/T's motorsports program, Mr. Simmons said, which includes involvement in the U.S. Formula 3 and Sports Car Club of America racing.