Interstate’s Chinese Business Growing Fast
Between 27 and 27 November 2010, Interstate Tire & Rubber Co. hosted its augural Chinese Interstate distributor meeting at Nantong, China. Tyres & Accessories met up with vice president Theo de Vries and learnt that the company’s products, which are well-known in Europe, are gaining increased distribution in the Chinese domestic market.
Interstate’s first dealer meeting saw the company bring together more than 120 local Interstate distributors at the Grand International Hotel, Nantong. Distributors reportedly came from all over China and flew in from all several provinces across China -from the nearby Jiangsu to the remote Yunnan province. With Wholesale operations across all China and retail operations in the provinces of Jiangsu, Shanghai and Shandong, there is every indication that Interstate China is continuing to grow rapidly. For 2011 the company’s ambitious goal is to open 12 more retails outlets and increase sales by more than 40 per cent.
What is interesting about Interstate’s Chinese distribution partners is that their retail depots have adopted multi-brand strategies not dissimilar to those we are familiar with in Europe. And rather than being seen as a threat to their ability to control distribution, Interstate reportedly sees this as a better long-term approach, which will therefore inevitably result in mutual benefit for both supplier and distributor.
The board of Interstate Tires & Rubber Co. (Theo de Vries and Gerard van Oers) opened the event with a welcome speech and a presentation about the firm’s latest developments and product additions. Following this Mr. Yao, Interstate China’s president, continued by explaining more about the company’s product range and the marketing and sales support available to partners.
One product launch Interstate initiative especially for the Chinese market was the Interstate Tour plus, which is a non-directional, low noise, replacement tyre. During the presentation the distributors were informed that there will be 12 new sizes added to this line in 2011 and 34 new sizes in the rest of the programme.
Referring to the company’s decision to host the first of its Chinese dealer meetings Theo de Vries explained: “In combination with the participation of Interstate Tires at the Reifen Shanghai, this was an excellent moment to organize the first Interstate China Dealer meeting.”
All in all sales of Interstate tyres in China are now reported to have grown to 5 per cent of the company’s annual total unit output in just two years. While the unit price of sales in China currently remains beneath that achieved in mature European markets, when you take taxes, exchange rates and shipping costs and times into account you can see the advantage of selling here.
New European sizes
Prior to Interstate’s inaugural Chinese dealer meeting and before details of the company’s continuing growth in the People’s Republic were released, the company also announced that it had increased the size of its UHP range in Europe. According the company, 19 additional UHP sizes have been added to the Interstate Sport IXT-1 range and the new ECO Tour Plus line.
The new sizes include eight 17 to 19-inch sizes range from 35 to 55 aspect ratios and three ECO Tour Plus fitments (205/40R17 84V and 215/45R17 91V and 225/45R17 94V). In addition the company has added four Interstate Sport SUV GT sizes to its offering (265/65R17 112H, 275/55R19 111V, 285/45R19 111V and 275/40R20 106V XL).
The additional sizes are said to feature the state-to-the-art technology and a new compound for tyre labelling and wet grip in preparation for the forthcoming 2012 tyre labelling laws. Interstate’s products have been produced using “clean” (PAH aromatic free) oils some time now.