SANTA ANA, Calif.Yokohama Tire Corp. and its Tokyo-based parent company, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., have been going from strength to strength in the U.S. market over the past year.
Looking back, among Yokohama's major accomplishments were:
c The opening of the $300 million Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi commercial tire plant in West Point, Miss., in October 2015;
c The announcement in April 2016 that Yokohama would purchase off-road tire maker Alliance Tire Group for $1.18 billion, greatly expanding Yokohama's OTR tire business and putting it in the agricultural tire business for the first time;
c The opening of a winter tire test facility in Hokkaido, Japan, in January 2016;
c The expansion of Yokohama's partnership with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), also in January 2016; and
c The 25th-anniversary celebration of the Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia L.L.C. facility in Salem, Va., in December 2015, coinciding with production of the plant's 80 millionth tire.
Rick Phillips, vice president of sales for Yokohama Tire Corp., said the firm does not discuss financial results publicly, but told Tire Business in an email that the company expected the second half of 2016 to be slightly more profitable than the firstHistorically, the second half is usually stronger than the first.
Yokohama never discusses pending original equipment fitments, Mr. Phillips said, but it is introducing several new tires this year.
On the consumer tire side, Yokohama introduced the Geolandar A/T G015 in April, along with the Geolandar A/T-S replacement tire, according to Mr. Phillips. Later this year, the company also plans to expand these lines: Geolandar H/T G056, Geolandar G055 and Advan Sport A/S.
In commercial tires, Yokohama launched the 108R regional steer tire in April, Mr. Phillips said. The tire comes in 14- and 16-ply configurations and in seven sizes.
Launching soon will be the TY503 open shoulder 30-32-inch drive tire, according to Mr. Phillips. Yokohama also will unveil an expansion of the 104ZR 19.5-inch tire, with three sizes in 14- and 16-ply. There also will be increased load-carrying capacityto 9,090 poundsfor the 104ZR tire, size 315/80R22.5 tire, he said.
We have several new products on the drawing board, but for the first year or two we will build existing, high-demand commercial products in Mississippi, he said.
Yokohama Tire just completed its Spring Getaway promotion, in which customers got their choice of a $60, $70 or $80 Yokohama Prepaid Visa card or a 2016-2017 Chelsea Football Club (FC) jersey. The tire maker is an official sponsor of the Chelsea, United Kingdom-based soccer team.
The tire maker started the Yokohama True Blue Fan Challenge May 25, and it runs until June 23, according to Mr. Phillips.
As the official shirt partner of Chelsea FC, Yokohama Tire will be giving away a trip to a match between the 2015 English Premier League champion and Liverpool FC at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., he said.
The grand prize winner and a guest will win $1,000 in spending money as well as the all-expenses-paid trip, Mr. Phillips said, noting that second- and third-place prizes also will be awarded.
In motorsports, Mr. Phillips said Yokohama is enthusiastic about its new sponsorship of the IMSA-sanctioned Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, noting that driver Daniel Morad won the opening race in the Ultra 94 Cup Challenge May 21.
Yokohama has no further acquisitions it can now publicly discuss after Alliance Tire, according to Mr. Phillips, but we are focused on growth and would consider opportunities as they present themselves.
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