SD International wants to make an impact in the U.S. with its Zeta private brand tire line. Manufactured by Qingdao Sentury Tire Co. Ltd. in Thailand, Zeta is being marketed as a third-tier replacement tire.
Company executives, including Managing Director Mike Zhang and Sales and Marketing Director Peter Nicholls, discussed their plans for the brand exclusively with Modern Tire Dealer at the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, which was held in Las Vegas Nov. 1-4.
Nicholls said Shanghai, China-based SD International is not a newcomer to the tire industry. It has been selling tires since 2002, and has 350 customers in 80 countries. Europe represents 50% of its sales — for now.
The company is targeting the U.S. replacement market with the following seven lines (each tire’s mileage warranty is in parentheses). “We’re starting from a small base, but the potential is huge,” added Nicholls.
- Verdant (60,000). The high performance broad-line tire is available in 24 sizes ranging from 185/70R14 88H to 205/45ZR16 XL 87W. An advanced tread design coupled with a “high stylized sidewall design” offers the driver “excellent driving comfort.” The addition of silica in the compound not only aids wet and dry traction, but also lowers rolling resistance.
- Meglio (50,000). The UHP tire is available in 20 sizes ranging from 215/55ZR17 XL 98W to 275/30ZR20 XL 97W. Four wide, straight grooves provide efficient drainage in wet conditions, while a straight rib block design applied to the outside of the contact patch helps increase cornering grip and stability and eliminate unwanted road noise.
- Impero (50,000). The SUV tire, built for vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe, is available in 14 20-, 22 – and 24-inch sizes. The tire features four wide, longitudinal grooves designed to improve water drainage.
- Etalon (50,000). The CUV tire, built for CUVs like the Ford Edge, is available in 19 sizes ranging from 215/70R16 100H to 255/55R18 XL 109V. Circumferential, zigzag grooves resist hydroplaning. In addition, the optimized tread profile design “heavily reduces” rolling resistance, says the company.
- Impero A/T (50,000). The all-terrain tire is available in 19 LT sizes and four metric sizes. Its wraparound tread is both aesthetically pleasing and functional: It gives the tire a rugged look; guards against cuts, bruises and impact breaks; and results in “outstanding” traction in muddy or snowy conditions.
- Consenso H/T. The highway light truck tire is available in nine 10-ply LT sizes (40,000-mile limited tread wear warranty) and two 20-inch metric sizes (50,000). The 3D wave-patterned kerfs minimize block movement; the result is improved grip and handling.
- Impero M/T. The mud-terrain tire is available in eight 10-ply, Q-rated LT sizes. The third in the Impero series of tires, the M/T has specially designed tread block engineered to grip in mud, sand and snow. And its unique stone-ejector grooves and rugged shoulder design help prevent damage from impact.
Sales Manager Bob Stewart said SD International backs all seven lines with a complete dealer program that includes rebates; sales spiffs for the counter people; a co-op program; dealer incentive trips; a 30-day test drive for consumers; and a “dealer friendly” road hazard warranty that covers the first 25% of tread wear.
“We want to ultimately vie for second or third replacements,” adds North American Sales Director Dan Wheeler. ■