Cooper Partners Corporación de Occidente in Mexican Tyre JV
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has announced the formation of a 50:50 joint venture company in Mexico. The new company, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company de Mexico SA de CV (Cooper Mexico) will be responsible for the marketing, sales and distribution of the Cooper and Pneustone brands, as well as all other associate brand tyres marketed by the two partner companies. Tyre production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter 2007.
Currently, the Pneustone brand is the house brand of Corporación de Occidente, a subsidiary company of Grupo Dexel, a Mexican holding corporation with entities involved in transportation, LP gas distribution, auto parts, and construction equipment.
“This is a great opportunity to grow the Cooper brands in Mexico,” said Phil Caris, vice president, Sales and Marketing, for Cooper Tire’s North American Tire Division. “By partnering with Occidente, we gain access to retail channels in Mexico and leverage existing relationships that Pneustone Brand has established with dealers throughout that country. Our existing customers in Mexico will benefit with the localized warehousing and increased focus on that market.”
The headquarters for “Cooper Mexico” will be located in Querétaro, Mexico. A management team has been put into place under the leadership of Jim Smith, recently appointed general director for the new company. Smith was formerly Cooper Tire’s plant controller at its Texarkana, Arkansas, tyre manufacturing plant. Assisting Jim in the position of director of marketing will be Chris Barbara, formerly Cooper Tire’s manager of sales training in Findlay, Ohio. These two individuals along with a newly appointed director of sales, Hugo Ybarra, an executive with a 15-year experience in the Mexican tyre market, will lead the core team primarily responsible for all activities associated with the new marketing company.
In a related move, Cooper Tire has finalized a production arrangement with Corporación de Occidente to produce certain radial passenger tyres in their production facility in Guadalajara, Mexico. The sourcing will be arranged in three phases, with a gradual ramp up to a targeted unit volume of nearly 2.5 million units per year. Passenger radial tyres will be produced under this arrangement for sale in the North American market as well as in Mexico. All tyres will comply with Cooper Tire’s rigorous quality and testing standards, which meet or exceed all federal manufacturing guidelines, the company explained in an official statement.
More details about the personnel changes
Jim Smith, the joint venture’s newly appointed general director, joined Cooper Tire in 1988 as a cost accountant and budget analyst and since 1990, has worked as controller at the Texarkana, Arkansas, plant. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio, and is a certified public accountant. Smith is past treasurer and past board member of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Accountancy Board of Ohio.
Prior to becoming Cooper Tire’s sales training manager, Barbara worked as a territory sales manager from 1998-2005. He joined Cooper Tire in 1998 as a marketing assistant. Barbara earned a bachelor’s degree in business communications and public relations from The University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio.