It could be considered a case of dueling pandas.
China Manufacturers Alliance (CMA), the 7-year-old distributor for a number of Chinese tire brands, is now two companies-China Manufacturers Alliance L.L.C. and China Manufacturers Alliance Inc.-both still based in Valencia and both representing various but distinct Chinese brands.
CMA L.L.C. is majority owned by Shanghai Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd. (STRC), and as such represents STRC's Double Coin commercial tire lines, according to CEO Larry J. Williams, who was senior vice president of CMA before the split.
CMA Inc. is owned by Jeff Kreitzman and Wayne Hung-the individuals responsible for setting up CMA in 1998. Their firm now claims North American distribution rights to the Advance, Armour, Bluestar and Wynstar tire brands in car, light truck, medium truck, industrial, OTR, forestry and specialty types.
The two companies have been legally registered for some time now, Mr. Williams said, but began operating as separate entities March 1. Throughout its short lifespan, CMA has been identified by its yellow oval logo featuring a panda and letters CMA superimposed over a tread pattern.
The companies' principals declined to comment on reasons for the split or on possible confusion stemming from their nearly identical names.
CMA L.L.C. notified customers in early March of the change and said ``other major Chinese tire manufacturers'' would be joining the alliance ``in the near future.'' CMA L.L.C. also announced ``major'' production increases for its main product lines, including the rollout this spring of radial OTR and industrial lug tires from STRC, which made ``substantial'' investments in capacity for these products, Mr. Williams said.
Initially the tires are available in sizes from 13.00R24 to 26.5R25, he said, with more sizes coming by the fall.
CMA L.L.C. acts primarily as an intermediary between North American customers and the factories in China, Mr. Williams said. As much as 80 percent of CMA L.L.C.'s business is container-load shipments directly to the customer, he said, and the revamped management team's priority is to foster more direct contact between the customer and the factory.
CMA L.L.C. uses various private brands besides Double Coin for radial and bias truck, OTR/Grader and skidsteer tires.
CMA L.L.C.'s other executives are Mike Yang, president; Steve See, vice president of operations; and Ben Tang, comptroller.
CMA Inc. has set up a new Web site-www.cmatire.com-to promote its product lines: Wynstar radial car tires; Advance radial light and medium truck tires; and Advance and Armour industrial, OTR, forestry and specialty tires; and Advance and Bluestar bias truck and rear farm and implement tires.
Visitors to the original CMA L.L.C. site-www.cmaintl.com-as of March 11 were being directed to the new site, which ironically still displayed the CMA L.L.C. logo.
CMA was launched in 1998, incorporating part out of the assets of importer/wholesaler Dynastar International of Santa Clarita, Calif., which had handled the importation of several Chinese brands from the early 1990s up until that point.
The company has reported annual sales in recent years of as much as $100 million.