GREENVILLE, S.C. — Michelin North America Inc.'s Uniroyal brand is leaning on its 130-year history as it positions itself for the future.
The brand, whose roots stretch back the late 1800s/early 1900s and part of Michelin's brand portfolio since 1989, will offer a full refreshed portfolio of consumer tires with the summer launch of two Laredo tire lines for the SUV/pick-up truck sector.
"We definitely see that as the market shifts and consumers continue to focus on budget-friendly options that Uniroyal is well positioned to continue to capture market share," Michelle Grim, Uniroyal brand director, said.
Part of that solid positioning is Uniroyal's competitively priced portfolio, she said, including a pair of tires launched last year:
- Tiger Paw Touring A/S, an everyday tire launched in August 2022, offered in 116 sizes covering the full-touring, minivans and CUV market that comes with a 75,000-mile warranty; and
- Power Paw Ultra-High Performance A/S line, launched in 29 sizes in November 2022 and 29 more rolling out in early 2024 and boasting a 45,000-mile warranty.
In July, Uniroyal will debut the latest expansion of its Laredo light truck tire line, the Laredo H/T for highway driving and the Laredo A/T (all-terrain), both aimed at the growing recreational vehicle market.
"We know as the market is shifting, people are buying those larger vehicles, they're using pick-up trucks as daily drivers, it's definitely the market to focus on. It's timely we have Laredos coming," Grim said.
With the new lines, Uniroyal now offers a full competitively priced portfolio, she said.
The new Laredo lines will cover a wide range of full-size SUVs and pick-up trucks, "for either consumers who want that quite comfortable highway drive or something with off-road grip."
The new Laredos eventually will come in 30-plus sizes, covering 16- to 22-inch rim diameters. The 22-inch sizes will launch closer to fall, Grim said.
The Laredo A/T size range will cover the top 10 light-duty pick-up truck sizes sold in 2022 and eight of the top sizes sold in 2012. The Laredo A/T also features a "reliable" tread compound and staggered shoulder blocks.
The Laredo H/T will cover the top 10 light-duty pickup truck sizes sold in 2022 and nine of the top 10 sold in 2012.
"So whether it's someone who has the new latest pick-up truck or someone who's been around, we see coverage for both." she said.
The Laredo is aimed at the driver who "really wants something that's going to last and something that's more their money, for the value."
The Laredo H/T and A/T come with a limited treadwear warranties of 60,000 and 55,000 miles, respectively. The Uniroyal brand comes with a 45-day satisfaction guarantee.
Pricing was not available. In the fall, Uniroyal will launch promotions to highlight the brand, Grim said.
Consumers are attracted to Uniroyal for that value, she said.
"For 130 years, we've been targeting those smart and sensible drivers that are looking for value. They're the savvy shoppers," Grim said.
"Specifically for Power Paw, our target consumer is really the budget-savvy consumer that's looking for a brand or tire they know and trust. Maybe they've used it before, they had a good experience, and now they have a sportier vehicle so they want a tire that's equally as sporty."
With a competitive budget market, Uniroyal is distinguished by its brand promise and long history, Grim said. "We feel like value is always popular. So if you can get someone that deal. Maybe they're looking for something that will last. That's comfortable."
Despite being under the umbrella of the world's largest tire maker, Michelin, Uniroyal looks to stand on its own rather than the reputation of its parent.
"We feel like Uniroyal stands alone. It has its own identity. We really try to lean on that and make sure its clear what the brand stands for, the history, and the value promise," she said.
The brand focuses on delivering what they promise. When products go to market, they make sure performance is highlighted and consumers know where Uniroyal stands versus the competition, she said.
Uniroyal has always been for consumers who were smart and sensible. "It's really nothing fancy, it's just a good, honest value," Grim said.
The brand rolled out a "rejuvenated" commercial tire lineup last fall with new versions of the brand's drive, steer and trailer tires.
The new lines — the Uniroyal LT2 Line Haul Trailer, RS2 Regional Steer tire and RD2 Regional Drive tire — were designed to appeal to the "cost-conscious buyer" who is looking for reliability, durability and value in a trusted brand.