Seeking to expand its operations in North America and establish itself as a true global brand, Shandong, China-based Triangle Group Co. announced a venture with Oriente Triangle Latin America, its Latin America marketer and distributor to offer the Triangle brand in the U.S.
“A global brand is one that is perceived to reflect the same set of values around the world,” said Gus Lima, CEO of Oriente Triangle Latin America, at Triangle Group Co.’s annual meeting in Las Vegas during the recent SEMA Show/Global Tire Expo. “Global brands transcend their origins and create strong enduring relationships with consumers across countries and cultures.”
The newly established joint venture, Triangle Tire North America LLC, will play a key role in establishing Triangle as a North American brand, according to the partners. As of publication, the company is based out of Oriente Triangle Latin America’s Miami offices, with more information to come in January regarding executive and management appointments.
Triangle’s North American strategy advances its much larger goal of establishing itself as a true global company. Getting to that level will require some major changes, admitted Triangle executives.
“In order for Triangle to acquire a global company status, we must better service our dealers by expanding our footprint, filling in the gaps with new products that meet market needs, and increase line coverage of SUV and LT tires,” said Zhong Shen, global product manager for Triangle.
North America Product
During the dealer meeting, Triangle officials said that the tiremaker is expanding its global product portfolio with new tire launches, and is working with its A3T technical center in Akron, Ohio, to design products specifically for the North American market. Shen noted that its A3T tech center is currently working on 29 major projects for the North American market, with some $6.3 million invested.
Triangle pointed to two new value segment tires – Sportex UHP and Pro-tract – as key products for the North American market.
The Triangle Sportex UHP features an asymmetric tread pattern, large contact patch, and an aggressive tread design for dry handling performance, said Triangle. The company will release 21 sizes by December 2015 and 13 more by December 2016 in North America, Europe, China and Latin America. Sportex will cover wheel diameters ranging from 16 to 24 inches in W and Y speed ratings.
The Triangle Protract will also be released into the North American, European and Chinese markets. The Protract is designed for high mileage, improved fuel efficiency, safety and low noise, the tiremaker claimed. Triangle will release 25 sizes by December 2015 and another 15 in September 2016. The T- and V-speed-rated lineup will cover wheel diameters ranging from 13 to 17 inches.
“With the introduction of these new products and this newly formed U.S. distribution partnership, we are seeing Triangle evolve into a more modern aspect of business,” said Lima.
To further its brand building in the North American market, Triangle announced a new branding strategy for North America, which will focus on improving its product names to better align them with the product’s key segment attributes and consumer expectations. In addition, Triangle officials said there will be greater clarity about and communication concerning product line-ups; its newly launched North American website will be kept up-to-date; and the company will reinforce its brand equity across all global markets, according to Shen.
Tasked with helping Triangle accomplish these goals is Oriente Triangle Latin America. “We were chosen by Triangle Tyre to assure customer service, efficient distribution and branding in the U.S.,” said Lima.
Obviously complicating Triangle’s plans for North American expansion is the latest round of duties to be imposed on consumer tires produced in China and exported to the U.S. Triangle’s production facilities are all located in China, so it has no alternate sources for export product.
Even though at the time of the dealer meeting the tiremaker did not know the level of duties it faced, Triangle officials seemed confident that they could still meet their global aspirations.