It's been a busy year for Nokian Tyres North America. The Finnish tire maker broke ground on its first North American facility in Dayton, Tenn.; announced plans to move its North American headquarters to Nashville, Tenn., from Colchester, Vt.; and revamped its branding strategy. Hans Dyhrman, Nokian's director of marketing, told Tire Business that the company is focused on continued sales growth.
Q: How would you describe business thus far in 2018?
A: Although we haven't reported on the second quarter yet, as we reported in our first quarter report, we experienced 5.4-percent growth in net sales for Nokian Tires in North America.
Q: What are some of the pleasant surprises you are seeing in the industry? What has surprised you most?
A: There is a growing number of brands offering tires that are safer in more conditions: all-season tires with the Severe Service Emblem (three-peak mountain snowflake). Nokian Tyres calls this category "all-weather," and it is an area that we successfully pioneered for a couple decades. As other companies come out with all-season products that meet the minimum standards for the Severe Service Emblem, this brings more attention to this category and growth for the overall segment.
Q: Where do you see the industry markets heading during the last half of 2018?
A: The industry is well positioned to see growth in both units shipped and revenue through the remainder of the year.
Q: What kind of trends are you seeing in the marketplace? How is your company reacting to them?
A: Consolidation continues to be one of the biggest trends in the market this year. As a premium supplier, we prefer to work directly with our customers. In doing so, we're better able to provide the products, services and support their businesses need to be successful.
Q: What sectors look to be strong? Are they sustainable for the future?
A: The CUV and SUV markets continue to grow in terms of aftermarket tire sales and does not appear to be slowing down. This is in part due to new car sales remaining strong in these categories.