Toyo’s Best Autosport Show Ever
In its recent first half 2005 results, Toyo Tire & Rubber reported that operating income rocketed 120.8 per cent. This was said to be due to a 25.9 per cent increase in high value products, with general sales improving by 8.7 per cent. Now, having exhibited the at the Autosport Show, Toyo is claiming to have “kicked into overdrive” with its “best show ever.” Tyres & Accessories took the opportunity to catch up with marketing director, Mike Rignall.
At the Autosport show, Toyo exhibited one of its latest additions, the Proxes T1-R. In keeping with the motorsport surroundings, Toyo was keen to point out that the fast road tyre has just been admitted to list 1a of the MSA blue book. In addition the company’s Proxes R888, a road legal track tyre (now on list 1b), was showcased with 18 new sizes for 2005. Toyo believes it now has one of the most comprehensive size ranges for a single track-day tyre.
Toyo also announced its sponsorship of The UKD1 drift championship and The Toyo Modified Production Saloon Car Championship, not to mention Santa Pod’s “run what ya brung” track days. “As a manufacturer, we are firmly committed to the development of British sports cars. Everything from the Farboud, through to the Grinnall Scorpion IV and Invicta S1 all leave the factory on our rubber. Of course the Invicta S1 – 600, the car being used to set a new World Blind Speed Record, piloted by Mike Newman, needs no introduction!”
As far as Mr Rignall is concerned, the company’s appearance at the ASI mirrors its general performance: “It’s been a really ballistic time over the last three years,” he observes. In fact Toyo sees the UK as one of the company’s “regional hotspots.” According to Toyo’s UK marketing director, the company’s business base has broadened because “[customers] know that ours is a better product.”
But how has Toyo’s progress compared to general market performance? “Essentially the market has been flat,” explains Mr Rignall, something that makes Toyo’s recent increase in profits all the more notable. Truck tyres sales are said to have been particularly good. “Everything we get we can sell. Nothing went to the warehouse – it all just went straight through,” comments Mr Rignall.
The company reports that this is down to controlling its costs and selling more high volume products. Furthermore, as a result of controlling costs in the UK, net profits grew five times more than the company had budgeted for. There are also rumours that one way the company will maintain this business is through a two per cent price increase in March.
By the close of the show on Sunday, Mike Rignall looked pleased with his team’s results. “We have had easily our best show ever here at ASI,” he said. “The stand has been packed from the word go, we have seen many old friends and created many new ones.” He added, “It’s going to be tricky to top this next year but were already working on it.”
Toyo UK sees the show as a good balance between corporate and consumer activities. But it is also good in terms of exposure. “There are a lot of high-powered media types here,” says Mr Rignall referring a number of well-known consumer publications. In addition, “Motorsport can help, but it is not a panacea,” says Mr Rignall. Realising this, the company supports the Toyo Modified Product Saloon car championship, providing a free set of tyres to RSCC club members. Further purchases are subsidised, a policy that Mr Rignall believes sets his company apart.