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Hercules gears up for big year with new sizes, tires

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Coming off the best two years in its 52-year history, Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. will introduce a number of new sizes and tires in 2004.

"We're spending more money on molds than in the history of our company," Hercules Director of Sales and Marketing Kevin Breen told tire dealers this past weekend at a Salt Lake City, Utah, meeting sponsored by Logan, Utah-based Wholesale Tire Distributors Inc.

The Findlay, Ohio-based company believes that new sizes will extend the momentum it gained in 2002 -- its best year ever -- and continued in 2003, when "every one of our divisions turned a profit."

At the forefront of its 2004 product plans are:

* first introducing 80 new "power line" sizes to its Hercules MR IV passenger tire, and then extending that range to 110 sizes ranging from 14 to 18 inches.

* extending the range of its Ultra Touring VR and HR line to 106, 14- through 18-inch sizes "that we think will be popular three years from now," says Breen.

Hercules also will add:

* six new sizes for its Polar Trax and Signet Winter Trax passenger snow tires;

* size 205/60R16 to its Hercules G3000H passenger tire;

* size 225/70R15 to its Hercules G2000H passenger tire;

* five new sizes to its Hercules Terra Trac A/W light truck tire line, including LT285/75R16, LT315/75R16, LT305/70R16, LT285/70R17 and LT265/70R17.

* size LT285/75R16 to its Hercules Terra Trac M/T. "Our product committee wants us to look into making this tire more aggressive," says Breen.

"Our greatest growth as a company over the past year has come in medium radial truck."

As a result, Hercules will roll out new medium truck tires in 2004, including the K-502 and the K-602.

Currently available from Hercules in 14, 15- and 16-inch sizes is the Signet Roadian HT passenger tire, which was originally unveiled last November. "It's starting to trickle in now."

The Roadian's name will probably be changed to Terra Trac HT, adds Breen.

Also available is the Electra Ironman HLT in LT235/85R16.

In addition, a new design for the Hercules Terra Trac A/T is in the pipeline, plus three new sizes for the tire.

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