NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cooper Tire’s Roadmaster brand is back up to speed after a labour disruption in China effectively took it out of the market for a year.
With the labour issues behind it, the company says it has won back most of its previous customers and is now looking to grow the brand.
“We got our top 20 accounts all back – they wanted to give us another shot. For the most part, we’re about on par with where we were in 2012 with our top 20 accounts,” Gary Schroeder, director, commercial vehicles and OEM sales, told Trucknews.com at the Technology & Maintenance Council meetings, where the company launched a new trailer tire.
Roadmaster has added four new tires over the past three to four months and is looking to grow fleet sales as well as its Canadian distribution network. Roadmaster executives say their ability to quickly win back business exceeded even their own expectations.
“I think a lot of it is the quality of the product and the relationships we have,” Schroeder said. “If our quality wasn’t there, they wouldn’t give us another shot.”
Roadmaster compares its tire performance to the Tier 1 providers, but at a lower price point. It draws on the engineering support of parent company Cooper Tire, with R&D for North American products conducted in Findlay, Ohio.
A new winter tire is being designed for the Canadian market, which will be launched next year.
The tire debuting at TMC was a new RM272 trailer tire designed for high-scrub applications such as drop-deck.
“It’s one tough tire designed for one demanding application,” said Schroeder. “Of all wheel positions, tires on a drop-deck trailer take some of the harshest punishment – often they don’t get replaced due to mileage, they get replaced due to tread damage, such as scrubbing or tearing. The new RM272 is designed to withstand these conditions and we believe this tire will be a top performer in the industry.”
The tire was developed in Findlay, Ohio, where a special concrete pad was built using multiple types of concrete to recreate the dragging and scrubbing that tires in spread-axle trailer configurations often encounter.
“Withstanding scrubbing and tearing is what this tire is all about,” said Schroeder. “When the tire was in development, we tested its performance against three types of concrete surfaces to match difficult real-world conditions, including concrete with exposed limestone, and grooved bridge decking. These tests enabled Cooper engineers to validate that the tires’ durability and performance levels exceeded everyday operating conditions.”
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