Wholesaler Establishes Chinese Retail Business - Tire Review Magazine

Wholesaler Establishes Chinese Retail Business

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) The fact that Singaporean wholesaler Stamford Tyres operates both a service centre chain (Mega Mart) as well as a tyre retail chain (Tyre Mart) in Southeast Asia and China shows that the people’s republic is more than just a production base for the company.

Instead, the Chinese market is increasingly become a focus for Stamford’s retail operations.

Currently, Stamford runs two distribution offices in China as well as one tyre dealership which, Stamford hopes, will eventually become a whole Chinese tyre dealer chain. The distribution offices are located in Shanghai and in Guangzhou, and this is where Stamford has opened its first tyre dealership on Chinese soil. Very shortly, there will be a second outlet in Shanghai, says Patrick Wong. It will be opened in October. The premises on a Shanghai main road have already been rented. In contrast to earlier comments made by Stamford representatives, the company is only going to establish another two retail outlets in China during the next two years. The company originally said it would open 10 within one year. However, initial experiences on the Chinese retail market have been quite positive.

These tyre outlets will be operated according to a “one-stop concept.” The usual products and services, as well as other more general car maintenance work, will be offered in these retail outlets. However, collision damages will not be repaired, and truck tyres will not be sold.

As an international wholesaler, Stamford Tyres has a range of private brands available for its customers. In these terms, the brand “Sumo Firenza” is adopting the most important position these days, although it used to be the “Sumo” brand. Sumo Firenza today is Stamford’s radial tyre brand, and it is available as passenger car and truck tyres. It is produced in five different factories within China as well as under two other off-take agreements in Vietnam and Indonesia. In the past, when these tyres were still manufactured at Sumitomo Rubber Industries in Japan, they were marketed under the brand Firenza. This applied to both radial and bias tyres (truck and light truck tyres).

After Stamford left the Japanese manufacturer, their radial tyres were given the name “Sumo Firenza.” Their bias tyres now are also produced in China and have been renamed “Sumo.” However, the bias tyre market is declining.

These brands and the new SSW (Stamford Sport Wheels) alloy wheel brand (produced in its owned facilities near Bangkok, Thailand) aside, Stamford mainly showed tyres made by Falken and Continental on its stand during the CITExpo. Stamford used to have certain regional distribution rights on the German tyre brand.

Furthermore, Stamford featured its new high-performance tyre. The Sumo Firenza ST-08 has been available since September; in Europe, it won’t be ready for distribution before October. The ST-08 will be produced in 28 dimensions between 15 and 18 inches, aspect ratios between 55 and 35 (there’s one dimension in a 60 series aspect ratio) and breadth between 185 and 235 millimetres. Average speed index will be W.

Not all dimensions will be available right away, Wong explains. This new product will be manufactured at Hangzhou Zhongce, one of Stamford’s Chinese off-take partners. The ST-08 is said to offer excellent traction on wet ground, a small rolling resistance, improved drainage by means of broadened channels in the tyre shoulder as well as comfortable and smooth running.

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