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Maxxis Moves Up a Gear

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) For nearly three decades, the East Anglian company Bickers has been developing the Maxxis brand in a number of niche markets, including motorcycles and scooters, motocross, ATV and lawn care.

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Now, following the establishment of a joint venture between Maxxis and Bickers (Maxxis International U.K. plc), a concerted effort will be made to develop the brand – especially in the passenger car tyre and LCV markets.

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“Thanks to our achievements in mountain biking and motocross, Maxxis has attained a high profile within the youth sector and we are keen to secure these enthusiasts as customers for our car tyres as they gravitate from two wheels to four,” says Derek McMartin, managing director of Maxxis International U.K.

“We will be promoting our products on performance and price in order to develop the consumer confidence that will enable us to seize the ‘upper middle’ position between existing premium and budget tyre brands.”

Maxxis car tyres have been around for about four years and have built up a solid reputation. Initially, Maxxis will offer a range of passenger car tyre ranges and dimensions – selected in conjunction with the U.K.’s major car tyre distributors – throughout the U.K. and Ireland.  These products will be stocked directly by distributors Group Tyre and BITS, while Maxxis U.K. will carry small stocks of the more unusual tyre sizes, feeding them through to the distributors as and when they are required.  Although Group Tyre and BITS deal in 4×4 tyres, Maxxis International U.K. is looking to increase its share of this niche market by developing relationships with off road tyre specialists.

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“We don’t expect tyre retailers or their wholesalers to carry the more individual products in the Maxxis range, but there are 4×4 specialist outlets to whom these products offer excellent business opportunities and we are looking to work with them to develop this sector,” says McMartin.

One of the UHP products now available in the U.K. is the W-rated MA-Z1, which recently performed well in a tyre test carried out by the prestigious Australian motoring magazine Wheels.

The test pitted the MA-Z1 against eight other tyres, including brands such as Michelin, Bridgestone and Goodyear and the tyre scored well in wet and dry handling tests; indeed, it came top for combined wet and dry braking. The MA-Z1 also recorded the lowest noise levels of any of the tyres tested and it finished third overall in the Wheels test.

The MA-Z1 is available in 37 sizes and sports a unidirectional tread and a special rim protector.

Away from the high performance sector, Maxxis is also introducing new products into the light commercial vehicle market with its UE-103 range. The tyres are R-, T- and H-speed rated and feature a rugged tread compound, which offers good abrasion resistance. A rib tread design ensures stability and excellent water dispersal.

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The UE-103 complements already-established Maxxis LCV products, such as the R-rated UE-168 and the MA-751 Bravo, which is a firm favourite amongst sports truck/pick up/4×4 users.

It is not just in the U.K. that Maxxis is making advances, as the company is making a significant investment in R&D. “Construction is complete on the first new R&D centre in our Shanghai plant and we are now putting the finishing touches to the six-story, 143,182-square-foot facility, which will employ some 200 engineers,” explains McMartin. “Plans are also underway for construction of a world-class test track nearby, which is expected to open in 2008.”

Maxxis’s head office in Taiwan is also opening a new R&D centre – the three-story, 56,694-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in June 2006 – which will employ 200 engineers. In the U.S., Maxxis has a Detroit office dedicated to supporting OE customers and is currently underway with a new 25,600-square-foot technical centre in Suwanee, Georgia – near to the company headquarters – which will also open in June 2006.

Back in the U.K., in order to generate greater interest in the Maxxis product portfolio, Maxxis International UK plc is increasing its support to wholesalers and retailers. The company recently appointed J M Bailey Communications – a full service marketing communications consultancy based in Solihull, West Midlands – to develop a new corporate advertising campaign and public relations programme.  

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The agency will also help maximise sponsorship investment and produce some innovative new point of sale materials.  Maxxis has already signed a sponsorship deal with Aston Villa FC, which will deliver TV exposure that is not limited to the U.K.

“These are exciting times for Maxxis as we set about raising our profile in the U.K.,” says McMartin. “Right now our focus is to develop initiatives within the trade and to reach out to consumers in a bid to build our share of the passenger car market, while maintaining our position as market-leader in several niche sectors.”

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