Tao Zhang, CEO of Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd., and Yhui Wang, vice president of the Shandon Branch of The Export-Import Bank of China, seated left to right, sign a strategic agreement that allows Triangle to invest funds outside of China.

Tao Zhang, CEO of Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd., and Yhui Wang, vice president of the Shandon Branch of The Export-Import Bank of China, seated left to right, sign a strategic agreement that allows Triangle to invest funds outside of China.

Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd. has taken the next step toward building a tire factory outside of China.

The company held a formal signing ceremony with the Shandong branch of the Export-Import Bank of China last week at Triangle’s Global Brand Summit. In effect, this strategic agreement allows Triangle to invest funds outside of China, something that would be necessary for the building of a plant.

Well-placed sources are telling Modern Tire Dealer that the plant will be built in the U.S. and a formal announcement is forthcoming, perhaps as early as this month.

The company currently operates four factories in China.  Current total production of tires is roughly 25 million units per year. Last year, Chairman Yuhua Ding said the company wanted total production of 30 million units within five years.

During his speech this year, Ding discussed the strategy to growing and working on a global basis. “In the process of global brand construction, we need 1) to position the manufacturing model properly to upgrade the old model; 2) to speed up and take full use of the science and technology research; 3) to improve the market supply and customer service; 4) to establish and develop the company culture and market culture on global brand development.”

More than 500 attendees from 100 countries were at the day-long event. A theme that developed early during the conference came from Chinese government officials who spoke of wanting to transfer from a “China manufactured” to a “China created” mentality.

Here are some key highlights from the conference.

* Triangle is intent on global brand building and has been in the process of building teams throughout the world. Six of the regions are controlled directly by the company, while North America stands alone as a separate sales and distribution company, established in 2015.

* The company is undergoing an overhaul of its product portfolio, concentrating on new products and “making tire names that are understandable,” according to Wayne Foster, chief marketing officer for the Triangle Group. This year the company has been consolidating and renaming its passenger tire line-up under the Advantex, Performex, Sportx, Milex and Tourex banners.

Foster said the reason for the renaming is to help retailers position Triangle tires easily with the consumer. He believes that tires using combination names with letters and numbers doesn’t work.

* Foster said Triangle’s research shows that worldwide, 70% of all tire purchases are made at the recommendation by the tire retailer. Foster said that the renaming process will continue to its light truck line during 2018 under the AdvantexSUV, PerformexSUV, AgilxAT and GripxMT names.

* Rick Phillips, vice president of sales for Triangle Tire USA, outlined the company’s growth strategy, whcih includes a brand-building campaign to dealers and distributors to help them promote Triangle to the consumer. He said the campaign revolves around Triangle’s world class products, great support team and its efficient delivery to the market.

Phillips said the focus on independent dealers is due to the fact that in the U.S., they influence the tire purchase 85% of the time.

As part of his presentation, Phillips gave an in-depth analysis of current market conditions.

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