MUMBAI, India (Jan. 20, 2016) — BKT Tires USA Inc. is planning to launch an associate dealers' marketing program in 2016 as a way of solidifying business with key existing dealers and attracting new ones in areas where the firm feels it is under-represented, according to Minoo Mehta, president of the U.S. sales unit of India's Balkrishna Industries Ltd.
BKT also plans to consolidate distribution of OTR tires in the U.S. at a single warehouse facility in the central part of the country as part of its growth strategy in North America, Mr. Mehta told Tire Business during ceremonies held recently in India to mark the opening of the tire maker's newest factory, in Bhuj, Gujarat.
The company hopes to announce the location of this warehouse early in 2016, Mr. Mehta said.
BKT has opened distribution points in California and South Carolina over the past couple of years. Having a single, centralized distribution point will allow BKT to provide more mixed shipments and customized services, Mr. Mehta said.
The firm also will continue to ship orders directly to those customers capable of handling container-load shipments, he added, along with keeping its Brentwood, Tenn., OTR tire sales office open.
North America represents 15 to 16 percent of BKT's annual sales, or roughly $93 million in 2015, but is one of three key geographical markets — along with India and Russia/CIS — targeted for above-average growth in the coming few years, according to Rajiv Poddar, joint managing director of Balkrishna Industries.
Mr. Mehta has been president of BKT Tires USA since February 2015 and assumed full control of the firm's farm and OTR businesses in July after Shawn Rasey resigned as president of the heavy construction and mining tire division, a position he'd held since mid-2014.
Mr. Mehta joined BKT in August 2014, bringing to the company more than 40 years of international experience in business, including seven years with Hercules Tire & Rubber Co.
Fairlawn, Ohio-based BKT USA handles U.S. sales and service for agricultural, industrial and light construction product lines. The firm's Brentwood office handles sales and service for the company's mining and heavy construction tire products, including grader, earthmover, loader and compactor tires 1200-24 and larger.
The company recently strengthened its sales team, hiring three regional sales managers: Baine Koller on the farm tire side and Gary Pompo and Peter Row for OTR tires.
Mr. Koller covers the Northwest Territory, bringing more than 11 years of tire industry experience in the passenger and light truck, commercial, forestry, agriculture and mining segments to the job.
Mr. Row has more than 17 years of experience in port and container tire sales as a territory manager, OTR specialist and market development.
Also helping the cause will be BKT's status through at least 2018 as the official tire of the Monster Jam series of “monster truck” competitions. Balkrishna Industries Ltd. secured this title and became the series' exclusive tire sponsor in 2014 as part of its brand-building strategy.
At that time, BKT said its decision to hook up with Monster Jam “fits into the strategic route BKT has been following for several years in the fields of communication, marketing and promotion. Enormous efforts are under way in terms of brand visibility with a positive effect on both sales and brand awareness.”