It’s about time the coronavirus brings some good news for a change. This dose of positivity is destined for tire dealers of the Falken brand, and specifically the WildPeak A/T3W. Matt Leeper, director of sales for the consumer tire business at Sumitomo Rubber North America, says the slowdown in demand for new vehicles and tires has given the company the window it needs to focus on backorders for three popular Falken tire lines.
“The silver lining for SRNA is that our backorders are declining from historically high levels. Our WildPeak A/T3W – we have been chasing backorders on that product for two years. It does look as though at the end of May we will probably be out of the backorder situation on the AT3W,” Leeper says.
“The CT60 and WildPeak H/T02 will also go down significantly in backorders. That’s a positive for us,” Leeper says. “We’ve had serious backorders on our light truck products for the past two years. We will come through this with very good fill.”
Rick Brennan, vice president of strategic planning, says the company is “making as many tires as we can, and we’ve focused on the places where we haven’t been able to keep up with demand, namely the WildPeak A/T3W, Ziex CT60 and hopefully the WildPeak H/T02.”
Brennan says all of the company’s warehouses are operational, and the focus there is on shipping backordered product.
“We’re unloading about 45,000 units a day into our warehouses and trying to move them from one dock door to another … so that we can get tires to the people who’ve really needed them for the last couple of years.”
Brennan says Sumitomo has tried to keep the backorder timeline to a maximum of 45 days, “but we’ve never been able to fill all the backorders.
“We’re going to put about half a million tires in the inventory in the next 30 days. A lot of those are going to be A/T3Ws, but we will be shipping those out as backorders. Part of our realignment is to focus on unloading those tires that come and shipping them right out to the people who need them.”
And for when the industry returns to normal, Brennan says this:
“We will expand our capability to build more light truck tires over the next 12 to 18 months.”