Techking Increasing Emphasis on European Markets
Chinese tyre manufacturer Techking is expanding its emphasis on European markets with the appointment of local staff to manage and develop continental markets including the UK. Speaking at Brityrex 2010, new European sales and marketing director Vincent Van Houtte told Tyres & Accessories that the company is serious about investing in Europe. Van Houtte joined Techking during the last quarter following years of experience at Bridgestone Europe and Solideal including passenger car, two-wheel and OTR tyre related roles. He joins a year after the firm appointed Samuel Hermanssen as vice-president Europe. Hermansson, who is Swedish, brings with him 20 years of experience of work at premium tyre manufacturers such as Continental.
In addition to the development of a European team, Techking has reportedly been investing in new moulds and production technology – something that is a prerequisite for the realisation of the company’s goals of offering comprehensive passenger car, truck and bus, industrial and OTR tyre ranges. The latest addition to the company’s portfolio is its Effiplus range of passenger car tyres. T&A first reported that the company was planning a 2010 launch of these products back in December 2009, but Techking’s investment in a Brityrex stand that is this year roughly four times the size of its 2007 booth is symbolic of the company’s recent range expansion.
Giving the range its UK debut at Brityrex (following a European launch at Reifen Essen), Techking’s aim is to place the Effiplus brand at the top of the budget segment with a view to progressing into the economy sector within the next five years. To this end, the company used its position at Brityrex as platform for attracting new distribution partners. The company’s strategy right across Europe is to offer its partners exclusivity in the various markets it works in, but company representatives also recognised that in some mature markets like the UK this it not always possible. While Techking is said to prefer to the model of offering exclusivity to a single partner, one idea is to divide the market between two or three regionally exclusive distribution partners, if necessary.
The news of the European expansion follows the establishment of US headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee in June. At the time the company revealed that the North America operation will be manned by two veterans of the US tyre market. T&A has since learnt that a third member has already been added to the team.