Tire Business staff report
Rugao, China -- Double Coin is moving forward on plans to build a radial passenger tyre factory near its existing Rugao plant in China. The company is undergoing its due diligence to set a timetable for construction.
The plant's annual capacity is slated for 3 million passenger and light truck tyres for both export and domestic shipments and will be expanded as more demand occurs. Target date for products hitting the market is late 2011, Aaron Murphy, president of Double Coin's US-based unit -- China Manufacturers Alliance llc (CMA), said recently.
â€œI think our timing will be right to participate heavily in the market when the tariff (on Chinese made passenger and light truck tyres exported to the US) ends,â€ he said. â€œBut that does not mean we won't bring in products before (the tariff) expires. That will be determined by market demand.â€
Double Coin produces and markets several brands, including flag lines Double Coin and Warrior -- the latter licensed to Group Michelin for passenger and light truck tyres through year-end 2011 -- and associate brands Wynstar, Dynastar, Dynatrail and several others.
In truck tyres, he highlighted the company's recently becoming the first Chinese tyre manufacturer to offer a SmartWay-verified truck tyre -- the Double Coin FT105 trailer tyre.
The SmartWay Transport Partnership programme is a collaboration between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the freight sector designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions, and improve energy security.
With the FT105 already verified, Double Coin will move forward -- probably in the next few months -- on other truck-tyre positions, â€œso that we can offer a full lineup of the EPA's SmartWay-verified technology tyres,â€ Mr. Murphy said.
The products include the fuel-efficient FR605 steer- and FD405 drive-position radials. These tyres use advanced tread compounds and internal construction to provide lower rolling resistance and longer mileage.
â€œAll the senior management at CMA and Double Coin are extremely proud of the products we're producing today,â€ Mr. Murphy said. â€œNot only having a fuel-efficient product lineup but also one that's SmartWay-verified technology further differentiates us from the other tyre manufacturers based in China.â€
He noted that Double Coin does not want to be considered a tier 3 manufacturer. â€œWe want to differentiate us from tier 3 manufacturers and be recognised in the upper tiers of TBR (truck, bus radial) products,â€ he said.
Mr. Murphy added that based on the firm's sales and recent market share numbers in North America, â€œwe believe that dealers and users and the OEMs are beginning to see the value of Double Coin-manufactured products.â€
In 2009, Double Coin truck tyres garnered a 2.5-percent share of the US truck tyre market, he said.
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Tire Business (a Crain publication)