SILAO, Mexico—Yokohama Tire Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. (YTMX), the new Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) sales/distribution subsidiary in Silao, opened for business May 1 and has begun billing Mexican customers in pesos instead of dollars.
The next order of business for YTMX President Gary Nash is to set up a "full-fledged" sales, marketing and distribution operation, the tire maker said. Mr. Nash, named last month to head up the Mexican sales initiative in addition to continuing to advise YTC's OTR tire unit, plans to start by hiring a general manager, sales manager and others locally who will be supported for a time by YTC headquarters staff.
Specifically, Mr. Nash said, YTC advisers—such as John Cooney (director), Percy Cottle (consumer/commercial) or Joe Garcia (OTR)—will help educate and train those hired in Mexico. The establishment of YTMX is an extension of a sales presence in Mexico that started in 2009, Mr. Nash said. As a result, Yokohama already has "quite a few reputable" dealers throughout the country, he added, and has a head start on setting up "systems to accommodate business processes and transactions" common in Mexico.
YTMX intends to continue distributing through its existing distributors as well as sell directly to the independent dealer channel. By establishing YTMX as the importer of record for Yokohama, the company can build inventory, warehouse tires locally and deliver them directly to dealers, Mr. Nash said, thus enhancing efficiency and increasing cost control. For the dealers, the company said, it means increased responsiveness to their needs.
The firm hopes to have warehousing in place before year-end to support its sales efforts there. YTMX also will take over responsibility for supplying OE tires to the vehicle assembly plants in Mexico, along with working with the car makers' service divisions there to ensure that new car owners have access to Yokohama tires through their local car dealers. Mr. Nash said Yokohama has had success in the past serving Mexico's large and growing mining sector with giant OTR tires and sees a "great future" for its commercial truck tires.
Overall, Mr. Nash said, Mexico is the fastest-growing market in North America with the 12th largest economy in the world and second highest GDP in Latin America. The country's fleet of buses is considered the world's largest and the truck population the eighth largest. Overall, it offers "more potential growth than the U.S. in all three tire categories," he said, without offering specific sales goals for YTMX.
Mr. Nash noted there are no plans for Yokohama to make tires in Mexico at this time, clearing up confusion that arose in March when YTC announced plans to create YTMX. Instead, parent Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. said it will supply YTMX from whichever facilities make sense, including YTC's plant in Salem, Va.