LOUISVILLE, Ky.Dayton, General and Uniroyalbrands with 300-plus years of combined heritageare getting corporate makeovers on the commercial side of the ledger.
Bridgestone Americas Inc., Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. and Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. have rejuvenated their Dayton, General and Uniroyal commercial product lines, respectively, and are rolling out the revived brands with dedicated marketing schemes aimed predominantly at owner-operators and small fleets.
In the case of the General brand, the renewal coincides with the centennial year of the brand and pays homage to the brand's roots in the commercial sector.
Conti rolled out the overhauled product range at the recent Mid America Trucking Show in Louisville, where it debuted a centennial-year-based marketing/advertising campaign and a nationwide road show designed to reinforce the brand's image.
The marketing/advertising campaigndubbed Powering the Futuredraws on the General brand's heritage as a commercial tire from its earliest roots, according to Alex Chmiel, Conti's director of marketing, commercial vehicle tires, the Americas.
In relaunching the General commercial product, the tire maker is pitching it to owner-operators and smaller fleets, those with up to 99 units (tractors and trailers), Mr. Chmiel said. As such, Conti is positioning the latest General truck tire lineup as a reliable, value-priced tire that delivers long tread life and improved fuel-efficiency vs. recent products.
Conti estimates the market demand from small and medium-sized truck operators at 10.7 million new truck tries and 7.5 million retreads a year.
Conti's goal with the General brand was to achieve performance characteristics at about 85 percent of those of the Conti-brand, Mr. Chmiel said. The product roll-out starts with three long-haul highway truck tiresGeneral HS steer tire, HD drive and HT trailer. The HD and HT were set to roll out in April, followed by the HS in May.
The company is producing the General brand at its plant in Mt. Vernon, Ill. Tires sold this year will have a special General Tire centennial logo molded into the sidewall.
Bridgestone also is targeting the newly refreshed Dayton truck tire brand at owner-operators and small fleets through its Tires for Truckers marketing campaign and website, the Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker said. Bridgestone relaunched the Dayton medium truck tire line in 2013 after a two-year retirement as a value line for small fleets and independent truckers.
In the past year it's refreshed and doubled the portfolio to eight patterns, including three SmartWay-verified/California Air Resources Board compliant options, covering a broader scope of applications, according to Matt Loos, director of truck and bus marketing, Bridgestone Commercial.
The company also contracted out their production to a Chinese manufacturer, according to the DOT codes on the tires on display at MATS.
The Tires for Truckers campaign captures the spirit of commitment and determination exhibited by today's truckers, Mr. Loos said. They have a job to get done and deadlines to meet. They don't have time for down time because if they aren't moving, they aren't earning.
In addition to the new website, the Dayton campaign includes national advertising in trucking trades and corresponding digital properties, satellite and FM radio and an outdoor program. Dayton billboards can be found in select markets across the country along highways heavily traveled by truckers.
The revamped Dayton lineup, available in the U.S. and Canada, includes: D510S, an all-position tire recommended for the steer position; D610D drive tire; D410T trailer tire; D520S all-position tire recommended for the steer position; D620D and D630D drive tires; D630M and D640M all-position on/off highway tires recommended for severe service applications.
Michelin North America's Uniroyal revival is a more limited proposition, focusing on the Canadian and Mexican markets.
The new Uniroyal line, being produced at a Michelin plant in Greenville, S.C., comprises six tread designstwo steer-axle/all-position, two drive-axle and two trailer tiresavailable in sizes 11R22.5 and 11R24.5 and including two that are SmartWay verified for enhanced fuel efficiency.
Michelin Canada plans to market the line as a third-tier product, complementing the Michelin and BFGoodrich brands. It will be priced at about 75 percent of the price of a BFG product, which in turn costs about 75 percent of a Michelin premium product.
Michelin's Industrias Michelin S.A. de C.V. unit in Mexico launched the Uniroyal truck radial line in Mexico last year, but Michelin North America has at this time no plans to sell the line in the U.S.
The Uniroyal line features DuraShield construction, a combination of features that includes pyramidal steel belts, insulating belt edge strips and a heavy-gauge inner liner, which work together to reduce stress, promote endurance and protect the tire's casing.
The tire maker is backing the Uniroyal truck tire line with a four-year manufacturer's limited warranty. Certain long-haul and regional applications are also covered by a one-retread limited warranty, the firm said.