Throughout its 50-year history, Fairmount Tire & Rubber Inc. has preferred to do things a bit differently when it comes to its tire offerings.
What better way to give its tire dealer and distributor customers an advantage in the marketplace than to provide them with products that no one else sells.
Over the years that has meant the introduction of the Remington Premium Sportway low rider tire, the private-brand Bradley trailer and passenger radials as well as the Candy Classic line of classic wide-sidewall radials, the latter two named after the children of co-founder Jerry Saunders.
In 2002, Fairmount took the exclusive tire concept a step further by partnering with St. Peters, Mo.-based Sure Tire Co. Inc. to develop and introduce Concept Essenza, an upscale tire-and-wheel package aimed at the tuner market.
Now the Los Angeles-based tire distributor, which operates a single-location retail store, is pushing yet another tire and wheel project, but with a twist.
With the new Trazano, Fairmount is extending the tire and wheel package to include apparel and accessories.
``We wanted to develop a family of products that goes beyond selling tires and wheels where consumers will be involved in the whole image the brand is portraying-thus the lifestyle brand,'' said Fairmount Tire President Brad Saunders. ``My goal is not to give a higher-priced item. My goal is to give a competitively priced item. ''
While Fairmount has offered the private-brand Trazano line for two years now, it is expanding it with new size and line offerings and adding merchandising and marketing aspects to the program.
Like Essenza, which is no longer offered, Trazano tires and wheels both carry the Trazano name.
But Trazano goes further than the Essenza program by offering lifestyle accessories such as sunglasses, jackets, caps and T-shirts.
``The goal is to have our dealers selling these in their showrooms,'' Mr. Saunders said.
To help dealers promote the Trazano line further, Fairmount has introduced two different video display terminals for use in dealership showrooms. ``This is high-tech merchandising that you don't see in the normal tire store,'' Mr. Saunders said.
Also offered are indoor and outdoor banners, an adjustable tire stand and literature holders. Rounding out the Trazano product screen are more than 20 styles of metal, chrome and machined wheels, made by various wheel manufacturers.
As for tires, the Trazano lineup consists of the N7000 ultra-high-performance tire and the Roadian HP performance truck and sport-utility vehicle (SUV) tire, licensed from and made by South Korea's Nexen Tire Corp., and the H550A performance touring passenger radial, the SL309 light truck radial and the CR857 light truck traction radial, made by various overseas manufacturers.
New Trazano products for 2008 include the N3000, also made by Nexen, offered in two sizes for staggered fitment for extreme 22-inch passenger vehicles-265/30R22 on the front and 295/25R22 for the rear.
Fairmount also is introducing a 22-inch Rodian HP in size 280/45R22 for the Cadillac Escalade SUV, and the company is moving into more H-rated passenger sizes from 13- to 17-inch rim diameters as it works to develop a ``powerline'' of Trazano products.
Fairmount is offering the Trazano line through its network of dealers and distributor partners in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, as well as key partners throughout the rest of the U.S.
Mr. Saunders said the line's development is a big deal in light of the company's 50th anniversary, which the firm celebrated March 1 in Beverly Hills with a program before more than 800 customers and friends (See story on page 12).
``It's something to be proud of-the legacy of Fairmount Tire developing brands-proud of our network and proud of where we are today and where we will be in the future,'' he said.
Trazano is a made-up name that has no meaning. It was coined by Wayne Williams, Fairmount's director of marketing, and Brad Saunders, and takes the next step beyond Essenza, which Mr. Saunders said was ``the right product at the right time.''
Most major tire manufacturers have exited the value segment of the business, he continued, and want to sell primarily their major brands.
``This program fits perfectly in the product screen of stores. It fits very well with the major brands,'' he said, because it fills the value tier.
Besides Trazano, Fairmount distributes Goodyear, Dunlop, Remington, Cooper, Nexen, Hankook, Vredestein, Summit, Vogue, Kumho, Toyo, and the distributor's own Candy Classic tires.
As he looks to the future, Mr. Saunders said he expects to enhance the Trazano tire line, add more lifestyle products and improve on the marketing and merchandising support to make the line stand out on the showroom floor.
``My commitment is to develop tires and tire lines that give our network, our partners an advantage in the marketplace,'' he said.