RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (Sept. 5, 2001)—Falken Tire Corp. will begin selling the Visa tire brand nationwide beginning Nov. 1, after previously offering the line only on the West Coast.
At the same time, the Rancho Cucamonga-based distributor of Falken tires will stop marketing the Ohtsu tire brand, which it offered only in the eastern U.S., with one exception: It will continue to supply Ohtsu-brand medium truck tires to accommodate the company's dealers in the U.S. who have built up a following for the brand,” said Richard Smallwood, vice president of sales and marketing for Falken Tire.
Falken Tire is in the process of selling out its Ohtsu inventory, Mr. Smallwood said. “We hope all of the inventory will be out of the warehouses by September.” The company maintains two warehouses in the U.S. in Nashville, Tenn., and Rancho Cucamonga.
Mr. Smallwood anticipates dealers will deplete their inventories of Ohtsu-brand tires within the next six weeks and begin stocking the Visa line.
Under its new brand lineup, Falken Tire has positioned Visa as the company's associate-brand tire, with Falken serving as the flag line.
The Visa lineup includes passenger, high-performance and ultra-high-performance tires. The non-branded High Country AP will continue to serve as the company's associate-brand light truck tire, Mr. Smallwood said.
Ohtsu Tire & Rubber, a majority-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. in Japan, is phasing out the Ohtsu brand worldwide and is using Falken as the flag brand for the company's lineup of passenger, light truck and medium truck tires.