CLEVELAND (Nov. 3, 2010) — Chinese tire distributor Techking Tires Ltd. will add passenger and light truck tires to its portfolio in North America starting later this year under the brand name “Effiplus” and is planning to add medium truck tires by next year, company executives said recently.
Qingdao, China-based Techking—represented in North America by Techking America L.L.C. of Chatanooga, Tenn.—has sold the Effiplus in other international markets for the past couple of years, David Fleischhauer, director of marketing said, but plans for launching the brand in North America were delayed last year because of the imposition of elevated tariffs on consumer tires from China.
Techking expects the brand—the name derives from “efficiency plus”—to compete with Tier 2 brands, Mr. Fleischhauer said at the recent International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) in Cleveland, where Techking was an exhibitor. The company also is exhibiting at the ongoing Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas this week.
Effiplus tires are produced by Shandong Linglong Rubber Co. Ltd. at a plant in Zhaoyuan, Shandong, according to the DOT codes molded into the tires on display at ITEC. Techking owns the molds and participates in the design of the tires, according to Larry Williams, Techking America's top executive.
Techking—best known to North American dealers for its OTR tire line—earlier this year established a headquarters for the Americas in Chattanooga and hired Mr. Williams to oversee the operation. The firm already has set up sales/service offices in Cleveland, Miami and Los Angeles and plans to add some technical service reps from China throughout the year.
At ITEC, Techking displayed several models of the Effiplus car tire line, including the Epluto winter design and Satec passenger line. Light truck fitments are in the pipeline as well.
Techking will sell initially in containerloads only, Mr. Fleischauer said.
The new truck tire line should be available in the next few months, Mr. Williams said, in a range of sizes, including 22.5- and 24.5-inch fitments as well as some low-profile sizes. Techking will expand the line before year-end to include tires verified as SmartWay fuel-efficient products, he added.
Techking has contracted “one of China's leading tire makers not currently very active in North America” to make the truck tire line, Mr. Willams said.