New Warrior range launched in China
The Warrior brand is set to do battle with in the Chinese market, and perhaps will be pitted against premium brands. On 28 August the joint venture operation run by Double Coin Holdings, parent company Shanghai Huayi (Group) and Michelin unveiled its new passenger car range. Double Coin Group (Anhui) Warrior Tires began manufacturing Warrior branded tyres at its Wuwei, Anhui province factory in March and the new facility is expected to have a six million tyre a year capacity by the end of 2012. Output capacity should reach 15 million a year by 2015.
In his coverage of the Warrior range’s launch, the Shanghai Daily’s Richard Fu quoted Double Coin chairman and Shanghai Huayi (Group) president Liu Xunfeng as saying “Warrior is now targeting the mid- and high-end market and our aim is to make Warrior the number one Chinese tyre brand.” Whether Michelin will applaud this statement is, of course, another question; at its Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in May 2011, managing general partner Jean-Dominique Senard declared that “the Warrior brand is in fact not a premium brand like Michelin.”
Michelin and Double Coin’s original joint venture involving the Warrior brand wound up with Michelin’s purchase of its partner’s share in early 2010. Warrior gained a new lease of life in April 2012 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties and Shanghai Huayi to create a joint venture for producing and marketing passenger car and light truck tyres for the Chinese market. It was later announced that the brand will also be exported; the Shanghai Daily reports Double Coin vice general manager Jiang Bin as saying exports will account for around 20 per cent of output from the Wuwei plant. Jiang also shared that the tyre maker is holding talks with a number of vehicle manufacturers including Shanghai Volkswagen and Shanghai General Motors, regarding original equipment supply of Warrior branded tyres.