Brisa Aims to Establish Lassa Brand in Russia - Tire Review Magazine

Brisa Aims to Establish Lassa Brand in Russia

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) One European tyre manufacturer that clearly is expanding at the moment is Brisa-Bridgestone Sabanci Tyre Manufacturing and Trading Inc.

Since 2003, the Turkish joint venture company has invested about $174 million into the expansion of its local production capacities, which will eventually increase by 55 per cent to more than 10 million units.

To distribute this growing production capacity, the Turkish tyre manufacturer is looking for new customers that should come from Russia, says Haldun Kuran. Right now, there is no market for Brisa in Russia, the international sales director continues. But, very soon, the company will sell its first Lassa branded tyres on the Russian market through the “Pole Position” franchise, which is linked with Bridgestone and operates about 100 point of sales.

The signs of the time clearly point to expansion for the Turkish tyre manufacturer. Last year, about 7.1 million Lassa and Bridgestone branded tyres were produced in its factory. In two years’ time, Brisa plans to produce more than 10 million tyres; two thirds of this production are Lassa branded tyres. In addition to annual production increases, the export figures are also increasing, says the international sales director. Right now, about 21 per cent of the 2.39 million exported tyres (33.7 per cent of output) are sold in Germany. Next most important markets to Brisa are Italy (18 per cent of exports), Great Britain (9 per cent), Egypt (7 per cent) and Austria (6 per cent).

One of the biggest blank spots on Brisa’s European map is Russia. Consequently, the manufacturer wants to base its activities on its joint venture partner’s retail network in Russia. The Japanese tyre manufacturer centres its distribution activities on its Pole Position franchise network and on the implementation of its Truck Point network, which would also help Brisa sell its truck tyres on the Russian market.

In April, the first Lassa brand tyres were shipped to Russia, acknowledges Haldun Kuran and Andrey Naumov from Bridgestone C.I.S. LLC in Moscow during an interview with Tyres & Accessories.

Furthermore, the Japanese joint venture partner will help with marketing activities and the creation of a certain level of Lassa brand awareness on the Russian tyre market. The Moscow tyre exhibition Tires & Rubber is part of this approach, and thus, Brisa has booked some considerable floor space for the first.

The Lassa tyre brand will be established “not too far away from the top brands,” Kuran points out. Sell-out prices will be about 8-10 per cent below Bridgestone’s sell-out prices in Russia; the Bridgestone brand itself cannot be exported by Brisa but only sold in Turkey. Those responsible see the Lassa brand in the “upper middle segment or the lower top segment.” Together with joint venture partner Bridgestone “we have a competitive edge.”

Even supplies to OEM customers in Russia are deemed probable, something that Brisa has already proved with commercial tyres elsewhere. There were even contacts with potential Russian OEM customers, but nothing precise has come out of these initial talks.

Last year, Brisa generated a turnover of about $440 million.

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