AKRONTurkish tire maker Petlas Tire Corp. has appointed Rami Bitran, until recently general manager of BKT (USA) Inc., as manager of its North American team and tasked him with developing Petlas' sales efforts throughout North, Central and South America.
Mr. Bitran, who was with BKT from March 2008 until just recently, will be based in Akron, where Petlas is setting up an office. Prior to working with BKT, he was with Trelleborg Wheel Systems Americas for six years.
Kirsehir, Turkey-based Petlas did not elaborate on its plans for the Americas, other than to say Mr. Bitran would be developing sales platforms for the firm's agricultural, OTR, passenger and truck tires. Up to now Petlas has concentrated on its agricultural lines.
Petlas will not establish its own warehousing in the U.S. and will continue to supply customers on a container-load basis.
Earlier this year Petlas named Mid U.S. Tire L.L.C. of Dallas as its U.S. distributor for its agricultural tires, but that deal is now changing, according to Mid U.S. principal F.A. Jenkins. Mid U.S. will still be a distributor, but not exclusive, Petlas said.
Petlas already sells its Petlas- and Starmaxx-brand products in Mexico through Neumaticos Muevetiera Co., according to the firm's website. Family-owned Neumaticos Muevetiera operates 11 distribution centers throughout the country.
Petlas Tire, founded in 1976, offers a full line of tires for passenger, truck, light truck, 4x4, agricultural, OTR, industrial and aircraft tire products through a network of dealers worldwide.
Petlas is considered the 54th largest tire maker in the world, based on fiscal 2011 sales of $347 million.
It's in the process of expanding its capacity for radial tractor and implement tires by at least 50 percent in response to growing demand for its products from European and North American customers.
Petlas is owned by Abdulkadir Özcan Otomotiv Lastik, a leading tire distributor in Turkey, which last year agreed to set up a joint venture with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. to oversee the building of $500 million car and light truck tire plant in Turkey.