In the early part of the last century, tire companies were started for a lot of different reasons, few of which had anything to do with tires themselves.
Vogue Tyre, founded in 1914, was a little different in that respect. Better known to most as “that Cadillac tire,” Vogues were the product of a desire to do something different. At a time when all tires were solid black, Vogue’s founders created what they claimed was the industry’s first whitewall, and they marketed it to a highly upscale audience.
Between 1919 and World War II, Vogue tires became synonymous with Hollywood’s hottest stars, and photos of actors and actresses with their Vogue-shod cars Cadillacs, Dusenbergs and the like were leveraged with limo services and other stars. In 1937, Vogue centralized all of its manufacturing with Kelly-Springfield, an exclusive relationship that continues today with Goodyear.
Later, the winged Vogue logo and the now familiar gold stripe were added, preserving Vogue’s unique look and fashion appeal. And, sales were made directly to high-end car dealers, not through traditional tire channels, ensuring fitments on the top-line cars of the day.
Today, the still family-operated Vogue continues to do things a little differently. The familiar gold stripe is still there on most models, and sales are still focused on pricey vehicles, but the days of being “that Cadillac tire” are passed.
Based in Mt. Pleasant, Ill., not far from its roots in Chicago, Vogue Tyre remains a small niche player, but has broadened its wings to embrace custom wheels (chrome, of course) and vehicle trim for such nameplates as Lincoln, Chrysler, General Motors, Cadillac and Nissan. Yes, Nissan. Tires represent just 40% of the company’s business today, says President Greg Hathcock, with wheels and performance products taking the lion’s share.
And, while Vogue still works directly with car dealers it has 30 of its own “custom centers” located within car dealer locations and has displays in dozens more the private brand is reaching out more and more to traditional tire dealers and wholesalers.
“Our product is expensive, and it costs money to carry it,” responded Hathcock when asked why it hasn’t been so expansive in traditional channels vs. car dealers. Still, Vogue is looking for “select tire dealers” to represent its products to fill geographic areas.
The demographic remains tight ranging from older luxury car owners to younger customers looking for a unique look for their rides but the possibilities, says Hathcock when talking about some of the company’s newest tires, are great. Vogues are expensive, but it’s a price certain consumers are more than willing to pay.
New products have also been added to Vogue’s portfolio. The new CBR (Custom Built Radial) VIII line was launched with an H-rated 245/45R18 size featuring a single gold stripe and logo. The all-season touring line has a UTQG of 440AA and carries a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Also new is the CBR IX, a 500AA UTQG all-season tire that features Vogue’s “puncture control pad.” Available in size 235/50R18 with white and gold sidewall stripes, the CBR IX is an extra-load tire with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Vogue’s new SUV and Light Truck Touring Tyres round out the new products. With a UTQG of 500AB, the line is M+S rated and features the puncture control pad. Three of its four sizes are extra-load 275/45R20 (SL), 285/50R20 (XL), 305/50R20 (XL) and 305/40R22 (XL) specifically for large fitments. Vogue offers two versions: one with its familiar white and gold sidewall stripe and another raised black letter version. The new line has a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty.