Triangle Begins to Build Its Brand in the U.S. Market
Triangle brand tires are well-known in China, where Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd. is the country’s second largest tire manufacturer with more than 10,000 employees. Manny Cicero, CEO of Triangle’s new U.S.A. subsidiary, is charged with building Triangle's brand and image in the U.S. market.
As a first step, he introduced his sales and marketing team at a media event at the company’s technical center in Akron, Ohio, this week.
In addition to Cicero, the team consists of Mary Ma, director of marketing, Angelia Wyatt, customer service manager, Sid Parr, director of commercial tire sales, and Tunney Vandevender, manager of consumer tire sales.
All are new to the company as Triangle Tire USA was established in January 2016 with offices in Franklin, Tenn., near Nashville. The newest hires are Parr and Vandevender, who came on board in March. Cicero plans to add sales and marketing professionals, as well as people to fill operations, finance, engineering and warehousing functions. He expects the team to grow to 20 employees.
Triangle Tire USA is the parent company’s second U.S. subsidiary. The first is A3T LLC, a technical center which conducts research and development on tire technologies, tire manufacturing processes, rubber processing, testing, tire design, and rubber and materials compounding. Ed Montgomery is the general manager of the technical center, which was established in Akron in August 2011.
Triangle Tire USA is marketing and selling:
* medium radial truck tires;
* full range of off-the-road (OTR) radial and bias products, including giant radials for the construction, mining and aggregates industries; and
* passenger and light truck tires, including ultra-high performance (UHP) winter and specialty trailer tires.
Product leadership is one of Triangle’s strength because the company is privately owned, according to Cicero. “In as much as Chinese companies are not necessarily market-driven, I see Triangle being market-driven,” he says. “We’re a privately owned enterprise. It gives us a leg up on some of the others that are state-owned and don’t have to deal with market forces.”
In addition to the challenge of building Triangle's U.S. subsidiary from scratch, Cicero and his team must overcome doubts U.S. consumers have about the quality of Chinese tires.
"Let’s face it, there’s a certain perception of Chinese tires. There’s now a growing recognition that Chinese tires may be stratified into different tiers. Our goal is to be seen as one of the quality Chinese tires. Not just Chinese, but to be seen as a global player that manufactures in China," he says.
Awareness of the Triangle brand among U.S. consumers is virtually zero. That’s not the situation among U.S. tire dealers, according to Cicero. They are aware of the brand and want to learn more.
“I am amazed that most dealers know Triangle in one way or another. Triangle has been here as long as any company from China," says Cicero. Other Chinese companies "kind of eclipsed" Triangle, he says, but "because of relationships and curiosity, we’re finding a lot of welcome invitations to see dealers.”
Raising awareness of Triangle's brand and products among consumers and end users will be the bigger task, and that’s why Triangle wants the right distribution partners. “You get people to carry a line or you get people to promote your line," says Cicero. "We’re looking for people to promote the line, and we want to support them in those efforts.”