Sailun Tire Americas showcased its Inspire all-season touring tire and its Terramax HLT all-season light truck tire to key associates of its exclusive U.S. distributor, National Tire Wholesale, and their customers at Atlanta Motor Speedway in mid-September.
The event, during which participants compared the Sailun tires against a Tier 1 brand, was designed “so that dealers got the chance for a hands-on, blind tire test to illustrate that the meaning of value is much more than just price-based,” says Mark Pereira, marketing communications manager for Sailun.
Attendees drove Chevrolet Impala Premier sedans and BMW X3 xDrive30i CUVs on a tight autocross course set up in the speedway’s parking lot.
Sidewalls were buffed to hide the identity of the tires, and drivers were asked to not look at the tires before they ranked them. At the end of the event, Sailun showed the results of the rankings, in which their tires performed very well versus the Tier 1 brand.But as Brian Mielko, vice president of sales for Sailun, said, “It’s great that we compared so well against the Tier 1 brand, but the price difference between the two is the issue for us.”
Pereira said that in the Atlanta market, the Tier 1 brand was selling at a 70% premium versus Sailun’s Inspire tire and at an 80% premium versus the company’s Terramax HLT tire.
“An event like this provides us with an opportunity to debunk the many myths out there about value tier brands and tires from overseas,” he told Modern Tire Dealer. “We get a chance to explain how the Sailun brand was created, how we deliver products with proven performance and high standards, and why Sailun is the top alternative to the big-name brands out there for drivers seeking to save some money without sacrificing safety, quality or performance.”During the event, Christine Rouleau, sales director for Sailun, said, “We want to be the best in the value product tier.”
She used Modern Tire Dealer data that showed attendees Tier 3 and Tier 4 brands have continued to gain PLT market share steadily since 2013. During this time, those tiers have grown by almost 4%, now standing at about 30% of the market.
Rouleau told NTW attendees that “you establish how you want to sell our brand in your markets.” At the same time, she said it was Sailun’s responsibility to supply quality, build trust and offer support to them. “We need to make sure you know and trust that we stand behind you and our products that you sell.”
Sailun’s consumer market research shows that consumers depend on tire retailers for brand recommendations and at the same time are looking for a good value proposition, said Rouleau.She cited U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association statistics that show the U.S. replacement market for PLT growing from an expected 247 million units in 2019 to 250.4 million units in 2021, an annualized 0.9% growth rate. Within this same time period, she further pointed out that passenger tires would gradually decrease as a percent of the total, as light truck tires would increase.
Adding further to the complexities of the market, Rouleau said that 15- and 16-inch rim diameters would continue to decrease as diameters continue to increase. She said 17-inch would remain the dominant size segment through 2021.
Pereira said Sailun is committed to providing its dealers updated point-of-sale and merchandising, customer training, and customer incentives and promotions for its line of tires. This also includes more events, such as track days, sponsorships and customer co-op promotions.Sailun Tire Americas is part of Sailun Group Co. Ltd., which is based in Qingdao, China. Its parent company is Mesnac Co. Ltd., which was founded in the 1990s to develop and manufacture tire building equipment for the industry.
In 2003, Sailun’s first plant was built in China. Today, the company has five factories, with four based in China and one in Vietnam, said Rouleau. She said all of Sailun’s PLT tires are coming from its Vietnam-based plant, but “by the end of the year, all of our tires will come out of our Vietnam plant, except for a handful of tires.”
The company also is in the process of building a new TBR plant in Vietnam as part of a joint venture with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
Rouleau said Sailun is the 18th largest global tire company, with tires sold in 167 countries and research and development facilities located in Asia, Europe and North America. Sailun currently supplies 1.5% of the global aftermarket with PLT tires and 3.5% with TBR tires. Global sales have grown from $296.6 million (USD) in 2008 to $2.3 billion in 2018. ■ Sailun Terramax covers a wide range of SUV/LT fitments
Sailun is targeting the ever-growing SUV and light truck market with the new Terramax HLT, a premium, all-season tire that has been designed to deliver a quiet, stable ride thanks to its special, noise-reducing tread pattern.
The Terramax HLT also features a large contact area for enhanced handling and tread wear, as well as four extra-wide tread grooves that channel away water, giving vehicle owners “the traction they need to drive with confidence,” according to Sailun officials.
The tire is currently available in more than 45 P-metric and LT sizes, ranging from 15 inches to 20 inches in diameter. Two new sizes, a 235/65R16/C and a P285/45R22, will join the line next year, say Sailun officials.Sailun ‘inspires’ with its all-season touring tire
The Inspire is an all-season touring tire designed for fitment on a wide range of popular compacts, sedans, SUVs and CUVs, according to Sailun officials. The tire features:
- Sailun’s proprietary SertaGrip compound for increased traction and control in both wet and dry conditions, plus longevity;
- The company’s SilentTread pattern, which uses staggered tuning technology and a variable pitch sequence for a quiet, comfortable ride, and;
- 3D Mult-Sipe Technology, which “expands and expels substances for confident performance that regenerates with tire wear,” according to Sailun officials.
The Inspire is currently available in 48 popular OE replacement tire fitments, ranging from 14 inches to 19 inches in diameter. Fifteen additional sizes, ranging from P225/55R16 to P255/45R20, are in development. The tire also comes with a 70,000-mile/60-month limited tread life warranty.