Continental Tire North America Inc. partnered with Wholesale Tire & Wheel Corp. (WTW), marketer of the high-end wheel brand Giovanna, at this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show as part of an effort to co-market their aftermarket products.
Paul Tecci, Continental brand manager in the NAFTA region, said Conti had done some product placement with the Giovanna brand at the 2004 SEMA Show, and the tire maker since then had considered partnering with a wheel company for co-marketing efforts.
The partnership is ``a strategic plan to bring together the lifestyle branding of Giovanna and the technology and performance of Continental into one marketing force,'' Mr. Tecci told Tire Business. ``And the idea is to bring brand presence for Giovanna and to bring brand awareness for Continental.''
The first tangible product of this arrangement is a Giovanna-edition ContiSportContact 2 tire, unveiled at this year's show in two sizes, 265/30ZR22 and 295/25ZR22. The tires are available on a limited basis.
Asked if the companies had any plans for a Continental-edition wheel, Mr. Tecci said: ``That's a good question, one I can't answer and won't answer right now.''
Mr. Tecci said the main focus of the partnership is marketing. ``From here we'll move forward and do some additional joint marketing but not so much co-branding,'' he said.
Conti had selected the Giovanna brand after talking with other wheel companies. ``Their brand is very much aligned with ours in terms of a conservative approach,'' Mr. Tecci said in the SEMA booth shared by both companies. ``As you see here, it's very sophisticated, classy, elegant, and it fits the Continental brand. (There's) not a lot of deviation from really the sophistication, the elegance and the classy approach (of Continental).''
Besides the joint booth in the Performance Tires & Wheels section of the SEMA Show, Conti and Giovanna also had numerous carpet ads throughout the hall pointing the way to the booth and a large sign on the front of the convention center's exterior walls, welcoming show visitors.
For the future of the partnership beyond the show, however, Mr. Tecci said Conti hasn't ruled anything out.
``Afterwards we'll review and see what makes sense to do and move forward,'' he told Tire Business. ``But right now we're just so excited about this that we're really not trying to go to step C before we go to B. We want to go through the steps, but we see a lot of opportunity here.''
Diko Sulahian, president of WTW, said he is pleased to partner his company with Continental. ``We understand the premium vehicle niche market and have recognized a need for a high performance tire with larger, customized fitments,'' he said in a statement.