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October 15, 2010

Extreme makeover

General truck tire program gets new line name and products

by - Also by this author

Continental Tire the Americas LLC is revamping its General medium truck tire line with new products.
Continental Tire the Americas LLC is revamping its General medium truck tire line with new products.

The General medium truck tire brand is receiving a new identity and several new products thanks to a big rebranding push by parent company Continental Tire the Americas LLC (CTA).

The process will include the adaptation of General’s Grabber product name to certain General brand truck tire offerings.

The Grabber moniker has been very successful for CTA on the light truck tire side and is a natural fit for medium truck tires that are used in rugged construction applications, says Libor Heger, head of brand management, commercial vehicle tires, the Americas, CTA.

“It’s the perfect reflection of how General truck tires offer great traction and durability for the on/off-road segment.”

CTA’s goal is to build upon the Grabber’s success, as well as the General brand’s history, equity and workhorse reputation, he explains. “All General truck tire products throughout the Americas will be renamed as new products are launched.”

This will simplify product choices “and reflect their intended wheel positions and applications.”

How does that Grab ya?

The Grabber name already has been applied to one General medium truck tire. Several months ago, CTA re-dubbed its General MS 520 tire the Grabber OA. (OA stands for “off road, all position,” according to company officials.)

The Grabber OA is available in two sizes: 11R22.5 and 11R24.5. It boasts 23/32-inch tread depth, cut- and chip-resistant compounding, a robust sidewall and other features designed to withstand the rigors of construction industry use.

CTA will limit the Grabber name to construction application tires, says Heger. It will not be used for long-haul, over-the-road tires.

Over the next 12 months, CTA will introduce several new General truck tires (see sidebar). All of them will be manufactured at the company’s Mt. Vernon, Ill., plant.

General’s rebranding has been in the works since last year, according to Heger. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve launched a lot of new products for our Continental brand.”

While available to customers of all shapes and sizes, the Continental brand traditionally has been favored by larger trucking operations, he says.

“However, there are a lot of small fleets who buy directly from the dealer. We decided after launching (a new) brand portfolio for Continental that it was the right time to focus on our second tier, which is General.”

Leading up to the decision to rebrand General, “we had many discussions with customers and were surprised at how strong the General name is in the marketplace. We decided to use this and to focus on strengthening the brand rather than launching something new.”

Truck tire buyers differ from consumer tire buyers in that the former have longer memories and tend to establish more permanent attachments to particular brands, he explains.

“In the commercial tire business, people remember a good tire for many years. Dealers today also are under great pressure from manufacturers who are telling them what tires they have to sell and at what price. They are happy if they can have a second-tier brand.”

General is priced 10% to 15% less than Continental, which means CTA has less money to spend on promoting the brand, says Heger.

“We are not going to spend millions on advertising. We are actually going the other way, with local events.”

 

Sneak preview -- New General tires are on the way

An integral part of Continental Tire the Americas LLC’s (CTA) rebranding of the General medium truck tire line will be the roll-out of several new products, including:

• the Grabber OA WB, which will be available in sizes 385/65R22.5, 425/65R22.5 and 445/65R22.5.

• the General RT, a regional trailer tire that will be available in sizes 215/75R17.5 and 235/75R17.5.

• the General RA, a regional all-position tire that will come in size 245/70R19.5. It will be designed for pick-up and delivery applications.

“All General truck tire products are expected to have been renamed by the end of 2015,” say CTA officials.

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