Chinese tiremaker Triangle Group Co. verified to Tyres & Accessories magazine that it is in a “long-term cooperation” with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Looking from the outside, the magazine said, “connections between Goodyear and Triangle can also be seen in the movement of a number of key product, sales and marketing personnel eastward, most notably Triangle’s recent appointment of Pierre Cohade as its CEO.”
Cohade, once chief of Goodyear’s Asia-Pacific operations, left Goodyear in November 2011 for other opportunities. Triangle’s global marketing vice president, Jenner Powell, is another Goodyear alumnus.
Triangle credits the relationships it has with OEMs such as Caterpillar, Volvo and Terex – and now also its connection with Goodyear – as achievements that are “largely responsible” for the Shandong-based tiremaker’s position as one of the world’s largest OTR tiremakers.
However, what began as a technical cooperation in the OTR tire sector developed into an off-take agreement for certain U.S.-bound truck tire sizes.
“About four years ago we opened a small research center in Akron,” Pierre Cohade told Tyres & Accessories in an interview earlier in 2015, adding: “This is going to be quickly and significantly expanded, and we’re also planning an R&D initiative in Western Europe, most likely in Germany. Both facilities will focus on developing original equipment relationships and the products that we need for these markets…”
Details of those R&D investments have not yet been announced.
While well-connected sources have been aware of the Goodyear connection for some time, Tyres & Accessories suggested that the fact that Triangle is now publicly referring to the relationship is remarkable, even if the firm’s initial public release of this important detail was a surprisingly low-key footnote to its recent global conference at Triangle HQ in Weihei, Shandong province.