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'Ohtsu surpassing expectations,' says Falken

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'Ohtsu surpassing expectations,' says Falken

It’s been three months since Falken Tire Corp. took over distribution of the Ohtsu truck tire brand in North America, and Falken officials have been more than pleased with the program’s growth.

"We are surpassing our expectations,” Falken President and COO Richard Smallwood recently told “We’ve added more customers and are getting higher volumes with the customers we have inherited.”

Falken adopted a network of about 20 “good-sized” dealers when it resumed control of the brand in early March, according to Smallwood.

The largest is Bend, Ore.-based Les Schwab Tire Centers, which has more than 420 commercial/retail outlets throughout the western U.S.

"Our first priority is to grow the existing dealers we have,” Smallwood said in the February 2010 issue of Modern Tire Dealer. “Our goal is to make sure we know who our best partners are. Then where we have holes in distribution, we’ll find new dealers.”

This is the second time that Falken has enjoyed exclusive distribution rights to Ohtsu. It distributed the brand until early 2005, when parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. transferred control of Ohtsu to Itochu International.

The switch back to Falken happened at the perfect time, Smallwood said several months ago. “I’d rather get in when the market’s in a horrible situation because it lets me look at things in the worst case scenario. In this kind of situation, you can’t be sloppy. You have to have your game down very well.”

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