In the past year in North America, the revolving door of tire brands has been getting a workout of late, with new brands popping up on a regular basis and some long-time "evergreens" fading away.
The crop of new brands is coming almost exclusively from Asia, where both tire manufacturers and private-brand marketers are leveraging new capacities in Thailand, Vietnam and elsewhere for business opportunities.
The surge in new brand activity coincides, however, with the pending imposition of elevated import duties on passenger and light truck tires being sourced from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
How much these duties will impact brands being sourced from those lands remains to be seen, although companies surveyed by Tire Business for this report are largely in agreement that prices will have to go up, an eventuality that likely will impact prices overall.
As a result of the Commerce Department's preliminary decision in late December to approve elevated import duties, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was directed at that time to start collecting cash deposits from importers of passenger and light truck tires from these three nations and Taiwan based on the preliminary rates published at that time.
Commerce is scheduled to announce its final determinations in these cases on or about May 14.
More specifically, the duties are:
- South Korea: Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. — 38.07%; Nexen Tire Corp. — 14.14%; all others — 27.81%.
- Taiwan: Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd. — 52.42%; Nankang Rubber Tire Corp. Ltd.— 98.44%; all others — 88.82%.
- Thailand: LLIT Thailand Co. Ltd. — 22.21%; Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd. — 13.25%; all others — 16.66%.
- Vietnam: countrywide entity — 22.30%. Excluded are: Sailun Vietnam Co. Ltd.; Kenda Rubber (Vietnam) Co. Ltd.; Bridgestone Tire Manufacturing Vietnam L.L.C.; Kumho Tire (Vietnam) Co. Ltd.; and Yokohama Tyre Vietnam Co. Ltd.
As Tire Business has reported previously, Thailand emerged as the No. 1 source of imported tires into the U.S. the past few years after the U.S. imposed elevated antidumping and countervailing duties on Chinese car/light truck tires seven years ago and truck/bus tires in 2018.
That decision led to a wave of offshore investment by leading Chinese tire makers in production sites in Thailand and Vietnam, predominantly, and which in turn has led to the emergence of a bevy of new tire brands in the U.S. sourced from those nations.
Among recent brand debuts tracked by Tire Business:
- Shandong Jinyu Tyres is preparing to launch a range of radial truck tires in the U.S. under the Amulet brand that will be sourced from the Chinese company's recently commissioned factory in Tay Ninh, Vietnam.
- Hixih Rubber Industry Group Co. Ltd. has struck a distribution agreement with Singapore-based Forceland Tyre Pte. Ltd. to bring the Forceland passenger and light-truck tire brand to the U.S.