Zeetex Brand Out in Force at Reifen China
The Zeetex tyre brand, which is produced exclusively for Dutch wholesaler S&H Tyres and Dubai based Zafco, was out in force at November’s Reifen China show. In addition to the company’s large and unmissably coloured orange and black stand, S&H Tyres chose a prime location near Reifen China’s main entrance and opposite the thoroughfare between this and the popular China RubberTech exhibition. With arguably the biggest stand held by a European company at the show, Tyres & Accessories asked one of the company founders Siem Klapwijk the obvious question – why?
The reason S&H’s management is happy to invest so much in exhibiting in China is because the company, which already sells significant amounts of tyres in the western European countries, is growing fast and becoming increasingly international. Currently the UK and Germany are seen as key markets, however, while this is likely to continue, the company’s 2010 forecasts would seem to suggest that new markets will be needed in addition to sales growth from existing customers. During the course of 2010, S&H expects to sell 2 million passenger car tyres and between 500,000 and 600,000 truck and bus tyres around the world.
According to Klapwijk, at the end of 2009 S&H Tyres was “forced to move” and expand into a new office for the third time in its short recent history. As a result of the move, company representatives expect to be ready for the “coming years” as any future growth will can be handled by the fact that the company now has the capacity for another four to five new staff members if needed. “We are easy to find as we are located on the top floor of a most impressive building directly on Dordrecht-Rotterdam the motorway in a small village called H-I-Ambacht,” Klapwijk explained.
Dozens of new sizes
Zeetex tyre production is currently sourced from four or five companies. Klapwijk didn’t reveal exactly which ones, but T&A understands that Zeetex tyres are produced at a certain production site in Indonesia in addition to a number of Chinese factories. The one hint Klapwijk did give away regarding the whereabouts of the bulk of Zeetex’s tyre production is the fact that the company moved its Shanghai office to Qingdao in China’s Shandong “rubber” province. This is said to have been because, after three years in Shanghai, the Qingdao office enabled S&H’s China-based employees to get “closer to the manufacturers.” Wherever S&H’s factories are exactly, and whichever company is doing the manufacturing, production is of course already s-marked and preparations for regulation 316 (tyre labelling) are said to be well underway.
As far as the company’s growing product range is concerned, company representatives expect to add between 60 and 80 sizes to the passenger car line-up throughout 2010. While the majority of the portfolio remains 13 – 15-inch fitments there are an increasing number of large diameter tyres. Currently the list includes a fair number of 20-inch products and sizes up to 305/55R16 94W at the top end of the spectrum. A number of additional truck and bus sizes are also scheduled for introduction from January onwards.