New Tire Makes ATD Player in UTV Market

Dec. 7, 2021

American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) recently previewed a new Hercules brand UTV tire during a ride-and-drive event in Moab, Utah.

The Hercules TIS UT1 is specifically designed for UTV and side-by-side vehicles. It will be available during the first quarter of 2022. 

ATD says the tire has a balanced void ratio with biting edges on its tread blocks. And the company adds that the eight-ply TIS UT1 offers enhanced traction while traveling across a variety of surfaces.

“This is going to be a home run for us,” says Steven Liu, senior director of proprietary brands, ATD. “This makes it a one-stop shop for ATD.”

Liu notes that ATD plans to make the tire available through all of its distribution centers.

“That will be the key for us — having UTV tires in stock and available,” says Cory Ray Carter, supervisor of a Big Brand Tire & Service outlet in Port Hueneme, Calif.

ATD says the UTV tire — which offer predictable forward and lateral traction — will come in six sizes, ranging from 28 inches to 35 inches in diameter. The company is partnering with TIS Wheels, which is based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., for the project and believes this will be key to the tire’s expected success.

“Combining efforts with a marketing powerhouse like (TIS President) Myles Kovacs and his team to promote the new UT1 will create a buzz with consumers, driving traffic to our retail locations,” says Liu.

“I feel the partnership with TIS Wheel will do great for Hercules,” says Philip Biscan, who represented Van’s Tire Pros of Alliance, Ohio, during the ride-and-drive.

 “There really aren’t too many options right now at the sizes they are offering.”

During the multi-day event, dealers tested the TIS UT1 on side-by-sides — driving over rocks and through mud and sand. 

“I think the UT1 did great on the trail,” says Biscan. “From the wet conditions we drove in, the tire did great at grabbing in the mud and cleaning out the tread so it could continue to bite. 

“Also when climbing up any rock, I never felt the tire slip at all, which was impressive. And when we got to the sand trails, the tire would spin just a little on heavy acceleration, but after that, it just grabbed and off you went.”

Liu says the tire is the logical next step for the Hercules brand.

“The timing is right for several reasons. The UTV market has experienced strong growth in recent years and is projected to continue to grow. 

“Manufacturers are clearly tapping into this trend by increasing the number of trim levels for each of these vehicles. Consumers are continuing to customize their vehicles and tires for off-road use, whether driving on trails (or) going fishing, hunting or rock climbing. 

“There is also evidence of rising demand as more states pass legislation to make these vehicles legal to drive on city streets. For example, West Virginia passed legislation last year and North Carolina law made it legal to drive UTVs on city streets on Oct. 1.

“Finally, we want to make certain our dealers have the right product for any customers,” he says. 

“It’s part of Hercules’ growth strategy to expand our portfolio and continue to be the ‘one-stop shop’ for consumers seeking any replacement tire.”

It takes some time to get a new tire off the ground, he says.

“We have been working for the past 12 to 18 months to develop this product. We created (the tire) based on information and demand from our dealers, who saw a rising demand for a strong value brand to participate in this market category.”    

About the Author

Ron Ledgard

Managing Editor

Ron Ledgard is the managing editor for Modern Tire Dealer and Auto Service Professional. He previously worked for The Athletic, the Akron Beacon Journal and DK Pittsburgh Sports. He started at MTD and ASP in January of 2021. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. #H2P He enjoys the outdoors, sports, cooking (or, at least, eating food) and running (but that is a work in progress).