In 2002, the American manufacturer exported some 960,000 Goodyear, Dunlop, Fulda and Sava branded tyres to Russia. According to the Discovery Research Group, based in Moscow, this has already grown to 1.39 million units. At the same time, Goodyear’s share of the total number of tyres imported into Russia has increased from 12 per cent in 2002 to 17 per cent now, based on a total import market of 8.2 million units each year.
Consequently, Goodyear appears to have acquired a four per cent share of the Russian replacement market. The company also sold some 300,000 Medeo brand tyres as a low-budget product for use within the domestic market. Until the end of last year, these were produced via an off-take agreement Goodyear had with Sibur’s Yaroslavl’ tyre factory.
But, today, Medeo brand tyres, which continue to be sold in Russia, are produced at Goodyear’s Debica factory in Poland, LLC Goodyear Russia’s marketing manager Inna Selivanova told Tyres & Accessories.
Rumours a year ago about a possible Goodyear take-over of the Russian tyre manufacturer Nizhnekamskshina were quite untrue. However, there is an issue here. At roughly the same time LLC Goodyear Russia’s general director, Henry Braun, commented that those in charge at Akron might “think about” a possible expansion (including production facilities) into the Russian market. Perhaps this year’s conviction surrounding “the project” could be even stronger than 12 months ago.
But, even without its own production facilities, Goodyear is investing into the development of its Russian businesses. For example, the Premio concept of entrepreneur-owned franchised dealerships is being implemented into the Russian retail market. Sales through Goodyear’s Premio channel are “decisive to us,” the marketing manager continues. Currently, Goodyear supplies 10 Premio outlets in Russia and Kazakstan. A further 10 outlets are expected to join the programme this year.
At the same time, Goodyear is investing in title sponsoring. The Russian automotive accessory exhibition, Autotec, which took place at the same time and at the same venue as the Tires & Rubber show in Moscow, was sponsored by Premio, for example. In Russia, Premio is clearly regarded as the premium tyre dealer concept within the Goodyear group. Accordingly, the conditions for becoming a member are quite demanding. However, company representatives say they will adopt an individual approach to each new franchisee.
The issue of public relations is also core to LLC Goodyear Russia’s business. Therefore, the tyre major invited some 50 Russian journalists to its stand at the Tires & Rubber show in Moscow, using the opportunity to explain the benefits of technology such as RunOnFlat tyres or the latest products like the company’s Excellence high-performance summer tyre.