NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cooper Tire has brought its Roadmaster commercial truck tire line back to the market, after a labour stoppage in China last year disrupted production and forced a temporary absence.
The labour problems were caused when Cooper Tire had a fallout with a joint venture partner over an attempted merger. The merger – Cooper was to be purchased by India-based Apollo Tyres – was terminated, and Cooper now has an agreement in place to ensure there’s no repeat of the production issues that surfaced last year.
“We have a consistent product pipeline in place, so that can’t happen again and we’re working to secure more operational footprint as well,” Michael Simon, vice-president of marketing with Cooper Tire told Truck News at the Technology & Maintenance Council meetings.
Cooper Tire describes its Roadmaster line as providing Tier 1 performance at a Tier 3 price, delivering what it claims is the industry’s lowest cost per mile. Its tires are produced in China, but Simon emphasized they’re designed in the US to North American requirements.
“A typical China-produced tire is a global tire,” he said. “Our product is truly a North American product.”
He said each model is designed in Cooper Tire’s Findlay, Ohio facility. The company produces a complete line of commercial truck and trailer tires, including several SmartWay-verified models. In Canada, Cooper Tire currently has four distributors and is looking to grow its business here.
“We are developing and growing that customer base,” Simon said of the Canadian market. “I think we have huge upside potential for growth in Canada.”
As for winning back customers who couldn’t get their hands on its products last year, Simon said that has been easier to accomplish than anticipated.
“It’s exceeding our expectations,” he said. “We have a great value proposition and that was reinforced when we were out of the marketplace. There was a gap, and that gap was not filled by the alternatives our customers went out to utilize.”