FINDLAY, Ohio — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is marking the 10th anniversary of the debut of its Roadmaster truck tire brand, saying this represents a "launch point into our next era of successful product offerings…."
Cooper's decision a decade ago to dedicate the Roadmaster brand — which had been in Cooper's portfolio for years — to truck tires coincided with the phase-out of Cooper-brand truck tires and the initiation of the brand's being manufactured in China.
The company at that point in time had invested in two joint ventures in China, including Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Co. Ltd. in Rongcheng City, China, which became the source for the Roadmaster brand. That plant was Cooper's sole captive truck tire capacity worldwide.
Cooper launched its first SmartWay-verified Roadmaster tire, the RM180 long-haul steer tire, in 2010 and has added five more SmartWay models since. The SmartWay program, an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sets criteria for truck tires to be verified as "low rolling resistance" and thus contribute to reducing fuel consumption.
Cooper now offers Roadmaster tires for nearly every trucking application — long haul, regional, mixed service, pick-up and delivery and bus," said Gary Schroeder, director of Cooper's truck and bus tire business, after starting with just four applications in 2007.
The brand's supply was interrupted for several months in late 2013-early 2014 when workers at the Cooper Chengshan plant stopped making Cooper- and/or Roadmaster-brand tires to protest Cooper's planned merger with India's Apollo Tyres Ltd.
The companies resolved the issue in early 2014 after the Cooper-Apollo deal fell through and Cooper agreed to sell its stake in the venture to its partner, Chengshan Group Co. Ltd.