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Continental continues to overhaul General brand

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Carl Casalbore, speaking at the 2006 American Car Care Centers Dealer Meeting, outlined Continental Tire North America Inc.'s plans for its passenger and light truck replacement tire business channel. They include new General products and size additions, Continental size additions, and when they will be introduced.

The company is striving to "be consistent in our approach to the market" in both pricing and supply, Casalbore, director of the dealer sales channel, said to the attendees. "Our supply in the past has not been sparkling. We’re aware of that."

A new consumer tire plant in Brazil will help alleviate the problem. According to Andreas Gerstenberger, vice president of sales and marketing, 90% of the plant’s capacity is dedicated to the company's replacement business in the United States.

Continental plans to introduce a new General "power line" at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in November. The company hopes to announce the addition of a new General light truck and SUV tire in 2007.

In the General Exclaim UHP line, 11 sizes will be added this year. In the Grabber UHP line, seven sizes will be added by 2007, which will expand its size count to 32 sizes.

Here are the confirmed sizes and when they will be introduced in 2006.

Grabber UHP: 285/45WR19, 255/50WR19, 305/50VR20, spring.

Exclaim UHP: 195/50VR15, 205/50VR15, 195/55VR15, 205/50WR16, 225/50WR16, 205/55WR16, 215/55WR16, 275/40WR17, 275/40WR18, 245/35WR20, 245/40WR20, summer.

Grabber AT2: 32x11.50R15, LT225/75R15, 265/65TR17, LT315/70R17, 255/60HR18, 305/50TR20 , fall.

"Our focus right now is clearly on the replacement segment and growing the business," said Casalbore.

For a look at the Continental brand's size additions, check out "Continental: It all starts with new products (and sizes)" on www.moderntiredealer.com.

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