LOUISVILLE, Ky.Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. used the recent Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville as a relaunching pad for its commercial tire business, marked by several new products, an enlarged and growing sales force and a dealer training program.
According to Roy Bromfield, Toyo's chief operating officer since late 2012, the Cypress, Calif.-based tire company is geared up to offer the trucking community a full line of products and related services after retrenching a few years ago when the company's participation in GTY Tire Co. ended and it lost its U.S. truck tire manufacturing base.
We see ourselves as the leading 'value alternative,' Mr. Bromfield told Tire Business in an interview at MATS.
Since losing production from GTY Tire in 2011, Toyo has established a world-class truck tire plant in Qingdao, China, where production has ramped up to the point the company can offer a broad line of commercial tire products and have sufficient capacity to ensure North American dealers they can stock the Toyo brand.
Establishing the China plantpart of Toyo's acquisition of Malaysia's Silverstone Bhd. in 2011coincided with a corporate restructuring at Toyo headquarters in Japan, Mr. Bromfield said, that refreshed the firm's commitment to the commercial tire sector. Toyo Tire U.S.A. sources tires both from Qingdao and Toyo's Kuwana, Japan, plants.
Toyo also has strengthened its commercial tire personnel, hiring Randy Gaetz, former vice president of sales and marketing for Del-Nat Tire Corp., to be its vice president of sales, and promoting Gary Hendricks to director of commercial truck tire sales and Lowell Slimp to senior product manager of commercial truck tires.
The moves coincide with Toyo's pledge to invest in and expand its commercial sales team to support planned growth in the coming years.
At MATS, Toyo rolled out three tires: the SmartWay-verified M177 regional to long-haul steer tire; the M170 regional steer tire; and the M920 drive traction tire for regional and long-haul trucking. The new tires are part of a complete relaunch of the Toyo brand portfolio over the past two to three years, according to Mr. Simp.
Featuring Toyo's proprietary e-balance technology, these tires deliver improved tire life, endurance, and retreadability plus reduced rolling resistance and irregular wear, Toyo said.
Mr. Gaetz describes Toyo's strategy as offering Tier I technology at Tier 11/2 pricing, a strategy that offers dealers a profit opportunity with a recognized national brand.
As Toyo rebuilds its product portfolioa wide-base single drive tire is under development, for exampleit will target independent truckers and regional fleets, Mr. Gaetz said. As such, Toyo will for now not pursue national account business so as to give dealers the chance to build business locally.
As for the new tires:
The M177 is a SmartWay-verified steer tire designed for use in regional to long-haul applications. Fuel efficiency, excellent durability and enhanced retreadability make it an important addition to any fleet. Also suitable for use on a trailer position, the M177 is available in both G and H load ratings in four sizes: 295/75R22.5, 285/75R24.5, 11R22.5 and 11R24.5.
The M170 is a regional steer tire capable of being used in all wheel positions, Toyo said. It features a durable compound and increased tread volume as well as improved bead durability and improved wear. These features result in a longer tire life and smoother drive, Toyo claims. Current sizes are 11R22.5 and 12R22.5, both with an H load range.
The premium M920 drive traction tire is targeted at truckers who require all-season capabilities to deliver loads in any weather condition, Toyo said. Designed for regional and long-haul applications, it features wide, staggered tread blocks for improved traction and performance while additional features assist in excellent wet performance, longer tire life and reduced irregular wear. The M920 is available in a 245/70R19.5 and an 11R22.5, with plans to expand the line-up later this year.
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