Tri­an­gle Tire ready to get rolling in China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­

As he toured the Tri­an­gle Tyre Co Ltd fa­cil­i­ties in China in 2015, tire in­dus­try vet­eran Manny Cicero felt a sense of déjà vu.

“I started a long time ago with Bridge­stone when it was a largely un­known Japanese com­pany,” he re­called.

“When I went to Ja­pan and saw the Bridge­stone fa­cil­i­ties for the first time, I was amazed and re­al­ized that this com­pany has po­ten­tial,” he said. “I had a sim­i­lar feel­ing when I went to Tri­an­gle in China.”

Cicero is now the CEO of Tri­an­gle Tire USA, a start-up sub­sidiary of Tri­an­gle Tyre Group in China, a well­known tire man­u­fac­turer on the main­land for 40 years. Although it has been sell­ing its line of tire prod­ucts in the US for some time, Cicero said the com­pany is mak­ing a ma­jor push in the US mar­ket to be­come a global brand.

“If you want to build a global brand you bet­ter be in the US,” said Cicero.

Last year, Tri­an­gle es­tab­lished its Amer­i­can head­quar­ters in Franklin, Ten­nessee, out­side of Nashville, af­ter open­ing a tech­ni­cal cen­ter in Akron, Ohio, in 2011.

Now all of Tri­an­gle’s fac­to­ries are in China. “We are look­ing at build­ing a plant out­side of China, but there has been no com­mit­ment yet on where it will be lo­cated,” Cicero said.

The Franklin head­quar­ters staff is at about seven right now. “We hope to go to about 20 em­ploy­ees by the end of the year,” said Cicero.

The Akron cen­ter serves as a re­search and devel­op­ment fa­cil­ity that em­ploys 10 en­gi­neers to “help us de­velop bet­ter prod­ucts for the North Amer­i­can mar­ket”, added Cicero.

Tri­an­gle of­fers full lineup of tire prod­ucts. Tri­an­gle Tire USA will mar­ket medium/heavy truck tires, as well as pas­sen­ger and light truck tires, in­clud­ing ul­tra-high-per­for­mance, win­ter and spe­cialty trailer tires. The com­pany also of­fers off-the-road tires for the con­struc­tion and min­ing in­dus­tries.

Cicero said the com­pany is chang­ing its US dis­tri­bu­tion strat­egy. Pre­vi­ously it re­lied on third-party rep­re­sen­ta­tives to mar­ket its tires. That model “wasn’t sus­tain­able for long-term growth and brand build­ing.”

“We are now look­ing for dis­tri­bu­tion part­ners who want to co-in­vest with us in build­ing the Tri­an­gle brand,” Cicero said.

He said ideal part­ners would in­clude tire re­tail­ers and com­mer­cial deal­ers with mul­ti­ple out­lets.

Cicero has been meet­ing with key US tire dis­trib­u­tors to dis­cuss how Tri­an­gle can help ex­pand their busi­ness. The com­pany aims to at­tract qual­ity dis­trib­u­tors “and to sup­port them in mar­ket­ing and sales to help build the Tri­an­gle brand.”

Cicero said that while he was at the Tri­an­gle fa­cil­i­ties in China, he re­al­ized that it was a so­phis­ti­cated com­pany with mod­ern fac­to­ries and an out­stand­ing prod­uct lineup.

“When you see Tri­an­gle in China, you re­al­ize this shouldn’t be a low­priced tire. This com­pany makes qual­ity prod­ucts that of­fer real value,” he said.

When you see Tri­an­gle in China, you re­al­ize this shouldn’t be a low­priced tire.”

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