Cologne, Germany ¬ Zafco International is launching the Armstrong tire brand in Europe in partnership with Van den Ban Autobanden NV, one of Europe’s largest independent wholesale distributors.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based Zafco and Van Den Ban will start with the Armstrong passenger and light truck lines, according to Carl Casalbore, head of Armstrong Tire Co., a Miami-based sales subsidiary of Zafco.
The new partners will start shipping product to European customers in the fourth quarter, Casalbore said, about a year after Zafco introduced the Armstrong consumer tire range, at the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas.
That rollout came two years after Zafco resurrected Armstrong brand with a range of radial truck and bus tires.
In Europe, the brand will start with three patterns, Mr. Casalbore said, the Blu-Trac passenger, Blu-Trac HP and Tru-Trac SUV lines. A winter line is in preparation.
The Tru-Trac name is an homage to the Armstrong Tru Trac pattern from the 20th century. Zafco acquired the global rights to the Armstrong brand in 2012 from Pirelli Tyre S.p.A., which had owned them since buying Armstrong Rubber Co. in 1988.
Zafco is backing the tires with a 75,000-kilometer warranty and a 30-Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee.
Casalbore said the new partners will add the medium truck/bus tire range at a later date.
The tires are being manufactured by Otani Tire Co. Ltd. in Thailand, in which Zafco holds an undisclosed "major" ownership stake. Otani also makes the Armstrong truck/bus tire lines.
The goal of Zafco and Van Den Ban's partnership is to combine their unique strengths as a manufacturer and distributor to bring Armstrong tires to Europe.
"With Armstrong we add another value to our portfolio,” Van Den Ban managing director Frans van Lenten said, “and we create value for our customers based on heritage and future continuity and on a large range and quality.”
Van Den Ban distributes tires and other auto aftermarket products from its headquarters in Hellevoetsluis, The Netherlands, where it has 1.5 million tires warehoused.