New program aims to turn dealers into experts on ag tire technology
By 2017, Alliance Tire Group (ATG) plans to be a $1 billion player in the global off-highway tire segment. That’s more than double the $575 million in annual sales the company projects for 2013.
The pace of growth also is consistent with the company’s performance over the last five years, during which sales more than doubled. ATG expects much of its growth to occur in North America, according to Manny Cicero. He is president of Alliance Tire Americas Inc., which is based in Wakefield, Mass., and is part of ATG.
ATG has earmarked “significant” resources for production expansion and new programs and training for agriculture tire distributors and dealers in North America. The company plans to increase capacity at its two plants in Israel and India and is building a third plant, also in India, in order to capitalize on the worldwide demand for technologically advanced agricultural tires in the value range. Full-scale production is set to begin in the last quarter of 2014, and the output for all three of the company’s plants is forecast to be 175,000 tons per year by the end of 2015. “With our current global footprint and planned production expansion, we’re well-positioned to improve our share of the global OHT (off-highway tire) market,” says Cicero.
Seth Walters, vice president of operations for Alliance Tire Americas, says the company’s strength is developing products for specific applications in what it calls the agricultural, construction and forestry (ACF) segment. “We’ve seen the majors divesting to some degree in the ACF segment and focusing more on medium truck and passenger tires. That’s why we think it’s a great niche for us.”
To raise awareness of the Alliance brand in North America, the company is developing an associate dealer program. The goal is to help dealers position themselves as experts on ag tire technology to their customers. The program is expected to include product and business training, prepackaged marketing materials and digital marketing support; certification as an approved Alliance dealer; eligibility for exclusive Alliance promotions; and advertising and promotion of certified dealers. The company is piloting the program with selected dealers.
The Alliance brand is distributed in North America through about 20 key distributors who will have a central role in growing the dealer network, according to Walters. “We’re planning not to grow around our distributors. We want to grow through them, not around them.”
The company also sells industrial and construction tires under the Galaxy brand and forestry tires under the Primex brand in North America, and truck tires under the Aeolus brand in the U.S. Alliance, Galaxy and Primex dealers combine for 1,500 to 2,000 points of sale nationwide. Alliance has fitments on most major OEs including John Deere, Case New Holland, Caterpillar and AGCO.
The new products and training programs mark the start of the third phase of ATG’s growth. The first began when private equity firm Warburg Pincus and the Mahansaria family of India purchased Alliance Tire Company in 2007 and turned it from a small, provincial-focused agricultural company making tires in Israel into a global off highway organization.
The company’s second growth phase began in 2009 with the purchase of the assets of GPX International Tire Corp., which added OTR products to the company’s offerings. A new phase of ownership began in April 2013 when ATG was purchased by Kohlbert Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR), a global private equity firm. “KKR has a proven track record of helping companies thrive,” says Cicero.
ATG employs more than 2,500 people, has plants in Israel and India, and research and development facilities in Israel, India, the U.S. and South Africa.