Racing Ahead: Dunlop Boosts Brand Awareness, Product Offerings - Tire Review Magazine

Racing Ahead: Dunlop Boosts Brand Awareness, Product Offerings

Dunlop Boosts Brand Awareness, Product Offerings

With Dunlop’s brand recognition on the rise in recent years, Goodyear said it is working to continue that trend by adding several new products, as well as marketing and promotional materials, to keep consumers coming back for more.

The tiremaker took the opportunity in mid-April to outline the brand’s growth strategy and show off four of its Dunlop tires to select media and dealers at the BMW Performance Driving School, located in Greer, S.C.

From a strategy standpoint, Goodyear will build upon Dunlop’s success by strengthening its product offering, reinforcing its OE presence, improving product availability to dealers and refocusing its marketing efforts, said Razvan Bosomoiu, Dunlop general manager.

“One key is to strengthen our product offering by growing our Signature powerline, which will add 84 SKUs in 2009,” he said. “In addition, we’re rejuvenating our all-terrain range with the new Rover M/T Maxx Traction and reinforcing our position in the areas of performance and winter tires, both segments in which the Dunlop name is already well-known.”

In order to build upon its current OE presence, Dunlop aims to target fitments that will offer a high replacement value and will serve as “image and volume generators,” Bosomoiu said. “We will also focus on import nameplates to leverage Dunlop’s global footprint,” he continued, noting that Goodyear currently has technical centers in North America, Europe and Japan.

Currently, 75% of Dunlop brand products sold in North America are manufactured domestically, and the company plans to boost that percentage to better meet dealer needs, in addition to the ongoing increases in product portfolios, Bosomoiu said.

To help drive consumers to dealers, Dunlop will further boost its brand awareness through added marketing efforts and its participation in various racing events. “We’re increasing our marketing efforts even though the market is down,” Bosomoiu said. “Now is the right time to build brand power.”

The campaign will feature retail promotions, local co-op advertising with dealers and a national advertising program delivered through online channels and print ads in enthusiast publications. Dealers will see new point-of-sale materials, as well as additional training programs.

For even more exposure, Dunlop, which has a long racing heritage, plans to leverage its new partnership with the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team in this year’s American Le Mans Series. “This is about more than just racing,” Bosomoiu said. “This is a testament to Dunlop’s commitment to technology and performance.”

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After talking strategy, dealers and media took to the track. Through several exercises – wet and dry handling and braking, a slalom course, a lane change maneuver and an off-road demonstration – the following Dunlop tires were put to the test: the SP Sport Maxx TT, SP Sport Signature, Signature CS and Rover M/T Maxx Traction.

The SP Sport Maxx TT, available to dealers beginning this month, features lower sidewalls reinforced with DuPont Kevlar to help “empower drivers by enhancing driver feedback and precision,” according to Dunlop. The Y speed rated tire is offered in 35 sizes.

Dunlop’s SP Sport Signature, which was released in the spring of 2007, sees the addition of seven new sizes this year. The tire, which was rated a Consumers Digest “Best Buy” in February, is now available in 26 sizes and features agile handling and improved all-season traction, Dunlop said.

The Signature CS, introduced at last year’s SEMA Show, is designed to provide versatility for the fast-growing crossover utility vehicle segment. Currently offered in nine sizes covering 60% of the CUV market, the tire will be available in two more sizes due out this year.

The Rover M/T Maxx Traction, launched in March, is a new on-/off-road tire for light truck and SUV owners. Available in 17 sizes, the tire features center traction lugs for start-up and braking traction in sand, dirt, wet and winter conditions, the company said.

Also new this year is Dunlop’s Graspic DS-3, a studless winter tire that features a silica-based tread to enhance traction and control at low temperatures. The tire will be available in the fall in 35 sizes, according to the company.

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