MIAMI (May 11, 2005) — Tire Kingdom International Inc. (TKI), left without a private brand late last year when Continental Tire North America (CTNA) Inc. phased out production of the Sonic brand, has taken on the Hallmark brand owned by Goodyear.
TKI had marketed Sonic only about a year, taking it over Jan. 1, 2004, from Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Parrish Tire Co., which had marketed it for six years prior to that. CTNA owns the brand name but has not commented on its reasons for phasing it out.
TKI began advertising itself early this year as the “exclusive U.S. and international” distributor of the Hallmark brand. But neither TKI nor parent TBC Corp. has commented publicly on the change or the details of the arrangement with Goodyear, which has listed Hallmark as an associate brand for many years.
Ads for the company state distribution areas available to “qualified dealers in specific markets.”
Goodyear said TKI for now is the only firm marketing Hallmark, but contractually there's no exclusivity guaranteed. TKI lists Goodyear as the maker of Hallmark—available in passenger and light truck sizes.
TKI also imports and markets Fate brand passenger and light truck tires from Argentina's Fate S.a.i.c.
Conti's decision to reduce its production of private brand tires also affected Parrish Tire's Tredtech and Turnpike brands. Parrish apparently has secured alternative supply, but the company declined to identify which manufacturer or manufacturers it is using.
In all, Conti shifted about 2.5 million units of annual capacity away from private brands and into Conti- and General Tire-branded products, a company representative said recently.
Conti said it still is making some private brand tires, but a search of information submitted by private branders for this year's Tire Brands Directory published by Tire Business showed no company listing CTNA as a supplier.
Conti last year phased out production of car and light truck tires at its Mayfield, Ky., plant, reducing its North American daily production capacity by about 7,300 units.