There’s a new player in the US TBR tire game and it has big plans to take on the North American market with its line of products specifically designed for US roads. Don’t let Ralson Tire North America‘s newness in this space fool you, though. Ralson Tires has a heritage that dates back to the ’70s and is a well-respected tire manufacturer in India.
Ralson Tire North America Executive Vice President Jim Mayfield spoke with Tire Review about the manufacturer’s plan to build off of its success in India, which started in the bicycle and scooter tire segments and has grown into other tire products. As it looks to expand, Mayfield said the company has a distribution plan in place and new TBR products to launch that are designed specifically for the US market.
“[Ralson has a] 60% market share on bicycle tires in India,” he explains. “How do you grow from 60%? It’s expensive to grow that; it’s time-consuming. Ralson decided to branch into other areas of the tire business and chose TBR as the direction to go. If we can do it here [in the US], it’ll prove we can do it anywhere.”
Since its founding in 1974, Ralson has experienced significant growth in the bicycle tire industry, laying the foundation for its entry into the trucking manufacturing industry. Ralson manufactures bicycle and scooter tires in four factories in India. It built the new TBR factory in Indore, starting construction at the beginning of 2021. This brand-new factory is dedicated fully to the production of TBR tires.
According to Mayfield, phase one of Ralson’s US growth plan involved getting its new TBR factory to an annual production of 1 million truck tires. The company will provide 22 SKUs in the launch phase under the Ralson and Accelus brands for the US market. They will then launch additional SKUs to fill out the product lineup. In the first phase, Mayfield said the product line-ups for both brands will focus on segments like regional, pickup and delivery, and waste haul/construction applications.
To ensure Ralson products are built and ready for the US waste haul and construction segment, Mayfield said the company hired a group of engineers, a development team and an outside consulting company with experience building and developing TBR products for the US market. The company also established a US headquarters in Franklin, TN.
“We’ve worked together to develop the business plan to determine how we want to go to [the US] market and how we want to be known,” said Mayfield. “The product this experienced team has developed gives us confidence in the product we are selling.”
Before distribution, the company’s R&D team, armed with advanced computer simulation and testing equipment, will put the tires through exhaustive testing inside labs equipped with Virtual Simulation Capabilities (FEA). The results will be validated by independent testing laboratories. The team also tests thoroughly on various road conditions.
To distribute its tires, the Ralson brand will be sold through larger full-service commercial tire dealers who will buy direct from the company while the Accelus brand will be sold through distributors to smaller tire dealers.
“[We want] strong truck tire dealers with great reputations for their service and integrity to carry the Ralson TBR brand and strong, dependable distributors to carry the Accelus TBR brand,” Mayfield said.