Linglong North America Sales will focus on building its sales team, signing new dealers and rolling out new products in 2024.
“Linglong has been growing its business here in North America for 20-plus years,” says Geoff Doster, president of Linglong North America Sales, which is a subsidiary of Shandong Linglong Tire Co.
Doster assumed his current role last summer after nearly two decades at TBC Corp., where he most recently served as executive vice president, as well as president and COO of TBC Brands LLC and TBC International.
“Linglong is very committed to our current, long-term, strategic partners, but we also understand we have to develop opportunities to provide value through our products and programs.
“Building and growing a local team to better support our dealers and growth objectives” will be a high priority for the company this year.
“We also want to add like-minded customers,” says Doster. “The industry, over the last couple of years, has seen consolidation in all channels. As a manufacturer, we want to ensure we’re working with our dealer partners, while making sure we adjust to their changing needs. This is a continual process.”
In North America, Linglong sells Atlas, Crosswind, Leao, Gritmaster, Green Max and Evoluxx brand tires.
“When I look at Linglong’s business, we are very strong in the passenger car tire market,” says Doster, who adds that the U.S. passenger tire market “has recalibrated. We’ve seen levels come back up to pre-pandemic demand.”
Doster says he also sees an affinity in the marketplace “for segments where Linglong has traditionally played. We are aligned with the market – making sure we have products that are ready for any demand we may see.”
During 2024, Lingling North America Sales plans to bring an electric vehicle (EV) tire to North America.
“We’re very advanced in our EV products that are marketed in China and other markets. I see the EV market as growing in North America.
“We want to make sure we’re introducing products that will be able to cover” both plug-in EV and hybrid vehicle applications.
“Another segment we’re focused on is high-diameter tires - not only in passenger, but also light truck.”
And the company will expand its last-mile van offerings in 2024, according to Doster.
“We want to be able to grow our brands and their reach and depth, in the sense of making sure we’re covering all market segments.”
Doster says Linglong has a global manufacturing strategy. Most of the company’s North American market tires are built at its plant in Thailand.
Linglong’s plant in Serbia, which recently came online, will supplement the company’s Thailand production.
“We’ve made tremendous progress at our Serbia facility,” which, once fully operational, will produce 12 million passenger tire units annually, according to Doster.
Right now, the plant produces commercial truck tires. “The plan is to produce 1.6 million TBR products” each year at the facility, when it’s at full capacity.
“We hope to be through phase one and two” of the factory’s development by the mid-point of 2024.
“There’s always continued investment in terms of our manufacturing facilities’ capabilities and efficiencies. We’ve made a lot of investments in manufacturing. And a lot of investment has been made in research and development.
“Long-term, we’re setting the stage to execute on our global strategy to be a leader in the market and then ultimately, have better customer collaboration and partnerships, where we can grow together,” adds Doster.