NOKIA, Finland (Feb. 7, 2005) — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has established its first two Vianor tire retail stores in Russia and expects to expand that to 30 company-owned and franchised locations this year.
“The expansion of the Vianor chain will boost Nokian Tyres' sales in Russia and give the company direct contacts with Russian consumers,” said Kim Gran, president and CEO of Nokian Tyres. “The tire distribution is increasingly taken care by the tire shops, and Nokian Tyres wants to be in the lead of this development.”
Nokian is investing about $13 million to set up shops in Rostov and St. Petersburg, Russia. From here on, though, Nokian will rely more heavily on franchising to build its network. Juri Melnik, a former importer of Nokian branded tires, will manage the Vianor operations in Russia.
Nokian also has acquired two retail tire stores in Sweden, bringing the network in that country to 50. Vianor comprises approximately 170 of its own outlets across Finland, Sweden, Norway and Estonia.