LAS VEGASTurkey's Petlas Tire Corp., known to American dealers primarily for its farm and implement tires, is broadening its export portfolio to include passenger and truck/bus radials after expanding capacity in Turkey for those products.
The Kirsehir, Turkey-based manufacturer also continues to evaluate sites and personnel for a U.S. representative office. The company had planned last year to hire ex-BKT Tires executive Rami Bitran to head up its North American sales efforts, but Petlas since has decided to go a different direction, according to Oguz Ay, sales and marketing director, international for Petlas.
Petlas displayed some of its expanded portfolio at the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association Las Vegas, where Mr. Ay discussed his company's strategy with Tire Business.
Among the new products available to American distributors are the firm's Petlas- and Starmaxx-brand truck and bus radial in four applicationsSZ300 (steer) and RZ300 (drive) in size 215/75 R17.5 and SH110 (steer) and RH100 (drive) in size 295/80 R22.5.
The availability of these tires follows a multi-year expansion project at the Kirsehir factory complex, Mr. Ay said, that resulted in capacity for truck radials that's slated to hit 80,000 units annually by year-end 2014.
The investment was designed to allow Petlas to develop a TBR program engineered to offer low rolling resistance, fuel efficiency, durability and long life, Mr. Ay said.
The company is preparing to offer additional sizes in 2014, including two wide-base applications315/80R 22.5 and 385/65R 22.5along with 12R22.5 and 11R 22.5 sizes.
The TBR plant project was in addition to a 50-percent expansion of radial tractor and implement tires in 2012-13. That project was implemented in response to growing demand for its products from European and North American customers, the company said.
Petlas' farm tire portfolio comprises products up 50 inches in rim diameter, 900 mm width and 6.5 feet in outside diameter, according to the firm's online catalog.
The company's plant occupies 3.2 million square feet, employs 2,300 and makes industrial, OTR and aircraft tires in addition to car, light and medium/heavy truck tires.
Petlas also has expanded its winter tire offerings with 10 new sizes for its Snowmaster line and the debut of the Explero W671 for 4x4s and SUVs.
The new Snowmaster sizes are for 17- and 18-inch rims, Petlas said, expanding that line to 70 sizes ranging from 13 to 18 inches in rim diameter in two patternsSnowmaster W601 and W651.
The Explero W671 is designed to fit a wide selection of 4x4s and SUVs, according to Petlas. The tire's tread includes a large number of grooves and sipes to provide increased grip and braking performance on snowy and icy roads.
Petlas is considered the world's 54th largest tire maker, with 2012 sales of $361 million.
It is owned by Abdulkadir Ozcan A.S., a Turkish tire and auto parts distributor.
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