GITI aiming for 10% market share

GITI Tire has appointed Richard Lyons to the position of general manager Europe as part of a series of moves that sees the firm implement a new organisational structure for its European operations. The structure, which took effect 1 May 2011, has been established following the departure of Michael Andre in March. Andre previously held the role of marketing director for passenger car tyres Europe and was managing director of the company’s Giti Tire Germany GmbH Deutschland subsidiary. Hervé Richert, GITI’s executive director, international sales and marketing described the new-look team a “direct consequence of GITI Tire Europe’s growth of business over recent years.” Writing in a statement detailing the reshuffle, he explained that it also follows the company’s “clearly defined strategy of building on strong relationships with its partners and customers with a focus on key markets in Europe and emerging markets” such as CIS and Russia.

Tyres & Accessories caught up with Richard Lyons and at the company’s European Technical Centre based at the MIRA test track near Nuneaton and asked what other developments are taking place at GITI.

Richard Lyons appointment as new GITI Tire Europe head leads to new European structure, goals

T&A’s visit coincided with what has been an annual dealer partner “experience” day, where GITI representatives offer key distribution partners the opportunity to both hear about the latest news from the company and experience the latest tyre technology from the company first hand. And the growth of this event is symbolic of the company’s recent expansion in the European markets, particularly considering the fact that 600 people from across Europe were invited to this years event, compared with just a handful a few years ago. The idea is that if customers can get a good feel of the product strong working relationships are formed.

This experiential element is also key to the development of the of the GITI brand, which the tyre manufacturer is currently positioning as a mid-range product off the back of an increasingly “tyres made for Europe” philosophy. This growth can also been seen in the development of ETC’s head count, which has grown four times over in three years. “We want to be a mid-range player offering value in this sector, despite the ‘premium’ investment GITI has put into research and development.”

New OEM department to be based in France

In 2006 GITI Tire Europe started with just two people and his since growth to the point that it has now runs strategically placed locations across Europe. One of the more recent additions is the firm’s French operation, which has expanded to into OE-liaison office too. GITI is understood to be in talks with a number of European OEMS. A successful conclusion to such talks would see the firm catch up with its strong OE performance in other parts of the world (especially China), which sees the firm fulfil supply agreements with well known names such as Fiat, Alfa and GM.

Moving forwards, the company is aiming to increase its focus on European passenger car OEMs, complementing the position it has built in replacement markets. In order to drive this forward the company has announced the establishment of a new OEM Europe department based in France, which could go some way to revealing exactly which carmakers GITI has been in talks with.

Aims to increase market share

Considering the relatively short period of the time, GITI has been directly involved in the European markets, the firm has grown into an influential position remarkably quickly (although the role of key international, importers and wholesalers in the development of the sales for the years before the foundation of the European HQ must also be recognised). Nevertheless the reality is that GITI has now built up and established a significant  position in Europe offering a multi-brand (GT Radial, Primewell, Runway and Dextero) product strategy in one of the most challenging and competitive market places worldwide.

The currently GITI’s aspiration goal is to achieve 10 per cent market share in all areas and all sectors in which the company is active. As far as the UK is concerned, GITI is said to be “very close to achieving both in 2011.” As far as the German market is concerned, following the appointment of Sascha Kemper as sales and marketing director – truck and bus for the GITI Tire subsidiary in Germany (he will also lead the sales and customer service team), Richard Lyons is confident the German market can achieve these results in a similarly short time frame. Formally with Bandag and Michelin, Sascha joined GITI Tire a year ago.

Richard Lyons’ appointment as general manager Europe is seen as a key part of the implementation of the company’s aims. In addition to the likes of Sascha Kemper referred to above, Lyons will lead an international team of European marketing, technical and management personnel who have experience within both the tyre and automotive sectors.

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