ERJ staff report (TB)
By Dave Zielasko, Tire Business
Las Vegas, US - Nitto Tire USA Inc., in the midst of a drive to double the brand's sales to $1 billion by 2016, is expanding into Latin America, in part because of the exposure the company has gained there through Facebook, where it recently surpassed 2.5 million fans worldwide.
While Nitto has invested no money in the region and has not distributed its tires there, it discovered it has a following in Latin America after getting feedback through the social media site and from feedback at the past two Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade shows.
â€œThe product, it's out there,â€ said Martha Garcia, director of global strategic planning for Nitto. â€œIt shows up and it's not an officially authorized product, so we were missing out on a huge opportunity. Definitely there is excitement. We definitely have enthusiasts there.
Even before hearing about it on Facebook, the company was getting inquiries and interest from Latin America attendees at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, said James Nieves, the tire maker's Latin America sales manager.
Nitto is into the second year of a four-year plan laid out by its parent company, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd of Japan, to double the company's sales-a programme that will be managed by Nitto in the US under the leadership of President Tomo Mizutani.
To facilitate Nitto's expansion into Latin America, which includes Central America, the company has established a team of employees in the US, which includes Garcia and Nieves.
â€œWe are creating a new department and it is very exciting for all three of us,â€ Nieves said. â€œIt is very exciting for me because I have the opportunity once more to come in and develop a very good quality, a very exciting brand into Latin America and help develop a new department. So we are starting from scratch.â€
Garcia said Nitto already has in place a few distributors in Latin America, â€œbut they are very small.â€
The plan is to start shipping Nitto product beginning 1 March, focusing first on Brazil and Chile then Paraguay.
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Article from Tire Business