Apollo Enters LT Segment with Vredestein Pinza
Tire Delivers 'Balanced All-Terrain' Performance, Says Company
Apollo Tyres Ltd. is expanding its product range in the United States and Canada with the launch of a new light truck tire, the Vredestein Pinza AT.
The Pinza line targets the growing pickup and SUV vehicle segments “and shows our seriousness and dedication to the North American market,” says Abhishek Bisht, assistant vice president, Americas, Apollo, who notes that the Pinza AT has been in development since 2017.
In bringing the Pinza AT to market, Apollo followed the same strategy it employed when developing the several passenger tire products it introduced to the North American market last year, according to Bisht. (The company also introduced a medium and heavy commercial truck tire line - under the Apollo brand name - during the second quarter of 2021.)
“In 2017, a team of people - including research and development, manufacturing and marketing - looked at the North American market. We spoke to hundreds of end users. We spoke to more than 70 retailers. And we tried to understand what makes the light truck tire category different and unique.”
Apollo saw opportunity in a sub-segment that it calls “balanced all-terrain.”
Consumers in this segment are looking for “comfortably rugged,” premium-level products that achieve an equilibrium of rugged, all-terrain capability on a wide range of challenging surfaces, while delivering a high degree of durability and enhanced on-road performance in all weather conditions, says Bisht.
Currently available in 47 sizes, the Pinza AT has been extensively tested in a variety of conditions throughout the U.S., plus Finland, Dubai and South Africa. Twenty more sizes will be added in April 2022.
Domestically, it is being sold through Tire Rack Inc. and Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc., he adds. And Apollo is looking for additional distribution.
“Markets like Texas, California, Arizona and Florida - these are strong SUV markets,” says Bisht.
“We also want to open other regions” to the line, including the southeastern U.S.; midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois; the Pacific Northwest; and the South Central region.
“National and regional retailers are our target segments.”
The Pinza AT is an ideal fit for high-end pickups and SUVs, Bisht explains. “We have sizes available for every light truck in North America. But from a marketing and brand building standpoint, we are (addressing) vehicles at the top end of the market, which is how Vredestein operates worldwide.”
The tire, which is manufactured in India, has received high marks in testing at Tire Rack and in Consumer Reports, says Bisht.
Apollo officials say the Pinza AT will compete with tier-one brand products in the light truck space.
The Pinza line also will offer highway-terrain and mud-terrain options in the future. (Apollo recently promoted Pinza on a giant billboard at Times Square in New York City.)