Conti has BIG plans for General in 2016

Bob Ulrich
Posted on September 24, 2015

Bill Caldwell and Travis Roffler must like to play poker. The Continental Tire the Americas LLC executives are keeping their plans for General tire close to the vest.

That doesn't mean they wouldn't give me a few hints about their plans for General in 2016. At the recent birthday party for the General brand in Las Vegas -- it officially turns 100 on Sept. 29 -- I talked with the pair about the start of the next 100 years.

Caldwell, vice president of sales and marketing, says the product life cycle for General is "healthy," the same as it is for the Continental brand.

"We don't want to let products get old," he says.

Roffler, director of marketing, agrees. He helped revitalize the brand when he came on board in 2006. Starting with the new General Altimax RT in 2007, the entire product line was turned over by 2013.

"A six-year turnover is pretty robust for a second brand," he says.

Next year, the company is planning to launch General tire lines in "three new market segments for us," according to Roffler. But neither he nor Caldwell would elaborate further for competitive reasons.

(You may remember that in January, the company introduced the Grabber Arctic LT, it's first entry into the winter light truck tire segment.) 

As for any of the other General lines, all Roffler would say is "Anything in our catalog will be refreshed in a timely manner."

The General brand will have a nice presence at the 2015 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas the first week of November. There will be three red show cars with General tires on them: a 1966 Ford Mustang, a Jeep and a Ford Super Duty truck. The Super Duty will feature 35-inch Grabber AT2s.

The cars will be showcased outside with a General tire tractor-trailer backdrop. The "outdoor booth" also will feature the Grabber HTS60, which was first introduced in May.

The AT2, by the way, is an anomoly to the General life cycle plan because of its popularity. "We don't want to let the clock dictate everything," says Roffler.

Related Topics: 2015 SEMA Show, Bill Caldwell, General Grabber, Travis Roffler

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