Private brand tire marketer Vogue Tyre & Rubber Co. has expanded its aftermarket customizing business to include car styling centers on the West Coast.
The Mount Prospect-based company acquired Los Angeles-based Prestige Products Corp., a distributor of aftermarket products through car dealerships, last August. The acquisition included five automotive styling centers in California and two in Washington, according to Vogue President Greg Hathcock.
``Having places for our customers to go to purchase our products and get them serviced is very important, so this was a good acquisition for us in that sense,'' Mr. Hathcock told Tire Business. ``Obviously, our vendors like the fact that we can sell our product nationwide for them.''
He declined to disclose the terms of the sale but said Prestige owner Chuck Butte retired from the business, and all of the styling centers now carry the Vogue name. Vogue kept all of Prestige's tire technicians and managers-whom Mr. Hathcock called a ``talented group''-and hired a supervisor who had worked for Prestige.
Like Vogue, Prestige distributed a number of products such as performance tires, custom wheels, custom leather interiors, sunroofs, simulated convertible tops, truck and car accessories and electronic accessories.
Vogue is known for its tires with distinct white sidewalls and gold stripe styling. In early January the company announced it was launching several tires in 18-, 20- and 22-inch rim diameters. It also offers wheels, trim products, gold packages, wood dashboards, grills, superchargers and lowering kits.
The company distributes its products through car dealerships, select tire dealers and company-operated custom centers. It also operates four warehouses, one each in Mount Prospect and Carrollton, Texas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a 30,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., that opened in 2004.
Mr. Hathcock said the Santa Fe Springs distribution center marked Vogue's first major step at expanding its presence on the West Coast. Prior to that, the company had a small distribution facility in Downey, Calif.
To trumpet its growth and new products coming down the pike, Vogue recently hired a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based marketing firm, ID Agency, to create and implement a new marketing, advertising and public relations campaign for the company. Mr. Hathcock told Tire Business that Vogue started advertising more when it rolled out 12 new tires two years ago, and now with more product introductions planned plus its growth in the West, the company is keen on getting the word out on the street.
``It's important for the market and for your distributors and for your end users to know that you're still healthy and growing because there are lots of companies that are not,'' Mr. Hathcock said. ``We felt that it was imperative that they know that Vogue was a dynamic and growing company.''
Vogue is looking at a print advertising campaign in enthusiast magazines such as Low Rider and Celebrity Car among others, he said, participating at custom car shows as well as whatever makes ``the most sense for us in terms of our market and cost.''