Prinx Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Co. Ltd. is entering the North American tire market with its own line of truck and bus tires. To help with the launch, the company has hired industry veteran John Aben to be its president for North America.
Aben most recently was with Giti Tire (USA) Ltd. as a senior vice president of OE and consumer sales. Prior to that, he spent 10 years with Nexen Tire America Inc. as its vice president of sales.
Aben says the company will begin shipping a line of truck tires to North America in early 2019. At the present time, no brand name has been finalized for the tires, but Aben says several options are being discussed. In other countries, the company sells under the Prinx, ChengShan, Austone and Fortune labels.
The North American operations will be based in Southern California, and Aben hopes to have a team of between seven to ten people on board by next year. The initial plans are for the company to sell 80% of its tires on a container-load basis, with the remainder flowing through third party logistics.
Prinx Chengshan, which was just listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (code 1809.HK) in October, is part of Prinx Investment Company Ltd. It currently has one manufacturing facility in China with an annual production capacity of 4.6 million TBR tires and 6.5 million PCR tires.
Expansion plans call for an additional 2.6 million TBR (truck and bus radial) tires and 2.2 million more PCR (passenger car radial) tires by 2021 at the plant. According to Aben, the company is also planning to build a plant outside of China, although the location has not yet been announced.
Due to the tariff situation, there are no current plans to sell PCR tires in the U.S.
In its Global Offering documents, the company states that it is the fifth largest Chinese producer of all steel radial tires and third within the replacement segment in terms of sales revenue and volume. The company further states that it is in the top five Chinese exporters of all steel radial tires to the U.S., Thailand and Malaysia markets.
The company continues to supply Roadmaster truck tires to Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. Prinx Chengshan has two agreements with Cooper that are due to expire on June 30, 2019, according to the Global Offering documents. Negotiations are still ongoing for a renewal of those agreements.