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Aeolus will soon offer PLT lines in the U.S.

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Aeolus will soon offer PLT lines in the U.S.

China’s fifth largest tire company, Aeolus Tyre Co. Ltd., wants to grow. To do so, the company has built a new plant to produce passenger and light truck radial tires, adding to its existing product lines of truck and OTR tires. And yes, exporting products is an important part to Aeolus’ strategy.

Chairman and General Manager Feng Wang told Modern Tire Dealer, “Our expectation is to be the benchmark of all Chinese tire companies.” Wang said the company is currently the 20th largest tire manufacturer worldwide, and he wants to get to the 10th position. The company had sales of more than $1.5 billion in 2011.

While on a trip to China with dealers sponsored by Aeolus’ exclusive United States distributor of TBR and OTR tires, Alliance Tire Group (ATG), Aeolus announced its plans to bring passenger and light truck radial tires (PLT) to the U.S.

The company has hired industry veteran Mike Leverington, former director of marketing at Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc., as its general manager for the U.S. The PLT lines are going to be sold directly by Aeolus in the U.S.

"Our level of participation with the PLT program, if any, has not yet been determined," says Seth Walters, vice president of marketing and logistics for ATG.

The company plans to offer more details about its PLT lines during the upcoming SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 30 through Nov. 2.

Aeolus is in the start-up process with its PLT lines. The factory is currently producing 8,500 tires per day. Over the next two years, the company hopes to increase its capacity to 15 million PLT tires per year. Currently, 40% of Aeolus’ tires are exported, with 10% going to the U.S. market.

The first two lines of tires to be sold in the U.S. will be:

1. a V-, W-, and Y-speed-rated summer tire in 35 sizes from 16-inch to 20-inch and 35-60 series;

2. an H-rated summer tire line in 22 sizes from 16-inch to 20-inch and 45-65 series.

Initially, the company will have seven SKUs for each of the tire lines.

More lines are planned as the company ramps up production. Aeolus exported $550 million in 2011 and is expecting an increase to $600 million this year. Wang says he expects $1 billion in exports in three years.

Aeolus has two plants in Jiaozuo, China, in the Henan province. The newest plant is 100% radial. Aeolus is the country’s largest producer of OTR tires and the third largest producer of TBR tires. -- Greg Smith

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