On Jan. 1, 2016, Falken Tire Corp. will be no more. In its place will be a new company: Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.

Richard Smallwood, current CEO and president of Falken Tire Corp., will become CEO and president of Sumitomo Rubber North America.

According to Falken, the dissolution of the alliance between Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) -- Falken's parent company -- and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. led to not only the name change, but also a realignment of SRI’s North America business units.

Falken announced an aggressive growth campaign at its October 2015 dealer meeting, with 12 new tire lines coming in the next 18 months. The growth comes as the company reorganizes and takes on the Sumitomo name.

Falken announced an aggressive growth campaign at its October 2015 dealer meeting, with 12 new tire lines coming in the next 18 months. The growth comes as the company reorganizes and takes on the Sumitomo name.

The realignment is part of a long-term strategy designed to "further strengthen (the company's) competitive position in North America."

Step 1: The first step will be the name change, which will become official on Jan. 1,, 2016.

Step 2: The second step, which is expected to occur by the end of March 2016, will be the change in name of Goodyear Dunlop Tire North America Ltd. to Sumitomo Rubber USA LLC (SRUSA). At that same time, responsibility for sales of both Dunlop light vehicle tires to Japanese OEMs and Dunlop motorcycle tires will transfer from  to Goodyear Dunlop/SRUSA to Sumitomo Rubber North America (SRNA).

Under the new corporate structure, SRNA will operate three separate sales divisions.

1. Dunlop Motorcycle Tire, located in Tonawanda, N.Y., will be responsible for Dunlop motorcycle sales to both the original equipment and replacement markets.

2. Falken Tire, located in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., will be responsible for replacement sales of Falken, Ohtsu and private branded products for the light vehicle and Commercial markets.

3. SRNA OE Sales, located in Detroit, Mich., will be responsible for Dunlop light vehicle tires for Japanese OEMs, and Falken OE tire sales for all North America OE customers.

SRNA will provide centralized administrative and logistics support to all three sales divisions. 

In addition to the realignment of the business units in the U.S., SRNA also will take over sales and distribution responsibility for the Caribbean and Mexico. This transition is expected to occur during the first quarter of 2016.

“The dissolution of the alliance between SRI and Goodyear will provide us the opportunity to quickly and dramatically enhance our service levels to our customers in North America,” says Kenji Onga, chairman and CEO of Goodyear Dunlop Tire North America.

“We now have local manufacturing, test facilities, and enhanced technical capabilities, all of which will help us better meet our customers’ needs." 

“Having gained a manufacturing facility, test track, and enhanced technical resources, coupled with our new multi-year sponsorship agreement with Major League Baseball and eight new product lines, we feel very confident in our ability to provide our customers the tools they need to profitably grow their business over the long term,” adds Smallwood.

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