Cooper Tire Ceases American Kenda Distribution
Cooper Tire & Rubber has ended its marketing and distribution agreement with Kenda Rubber Industrial Co., Ltd. (Kenda USA Corporation) effective 1 May 2009. This means that from May, Kenda will resume responsibility for the sales and marketing, distribution and customer service of the Kenda brand in the United States and Canada. Cooper has been the exclusive marketer of Kenda radial passenger and light truck tyres in US and Canada since November 2004. According to the companies, both parties will continue as partners in the radial passenger and light truck tyre plant in China, “and technical and other related matters.”
“The decision to end our marketing and distribution relationship was a mutual decision between Cooper and Kenda,” said Phil Caris, vice president of sales and marketing at Cooper. “And while the results of the joint venture were positive, it was agreed that a new approach would be beneficial in pursuing each company’s brand strategy. We have been very happy with our relationship with Kenda. As we begin to look into the future, we felt this strategy put both companies in a better position in this tough economic environment.”
Jimmy Yang, president of Kenda USA, added: “Over the past few years, the Kenda-Cooper relationship has been beneficial for all parties involved. We are looking forward…’re-launching’ our brand in the United States. As we take over the marketing activities for our brand, there is opportunity for growth in the US without having to change our distribution infrastructure.”
As the two companies said in the statement marking the end of Cooper’s North America Kenda distribution deal, this doesn’t affect the production joint venture the companies have been working together on in China. On the contrary, in October 2008 Cooper Tire reported “the most successful ramp-up programme ever achieved by the company.” Earlier last year (August 2008), Cooper Kenda Tire reached the milestone of building and curing more than 10,000 tyres a day – a significant accomplishment, considering the Cooper Kenda Tire (CKT) factory in Kunshan, west of Shanghai, had only been in production for 17 months.