Sales director Mike King tells Engineering News that these two brands – Fulda and Sava – are expected to increase the company’s sales by 10%.
With imports from the Far East, especially from China, threatening local production, one of the biggest drivers behind this initiative is to stave off imports in a market that already offers 114 different brands of tyres.
The Fulda tyres will be imported from Germany and will cater for the top end of the market, while the Polish product, Sava, will be more of a good-quality value product, which will be manufactured locally and thus be a direct competitor to the low-cost Chinese imports.
On average, South Africa sells 7,5-million consumer passenger tyres a year and, interestingly, 30% of local production is exported.
Conversely, however, about 30% of all South African tyres are imported.
In a separate development, the company will be launching its RunOnFlat tyre as a brand platform as from July.
This market it still in its infancy as the product, which has reinforced sidewalls made from special rubber compounds, can only be fitted to cars with sensors, such as BMWs and Mini Coopers.
However, Goodyear is confident that the tyre will capture a significant market share once other original-equipment manufacturers start making use of the product.
One of its most distinguishing features is that the tyre has been designed to operate for another 80 km once it has been punctured.
Currently, these tyres are being fitted on all 3-series BMWs and they are optional for 5-series and 7-series BMWs.
Moreover, as from 2007, Mercedes-Benz will also start fitting the RunOnFlat tyres, and King is confident that Toyota and Volkswagen will soon follow suit. In Germany, for example, more than a million RunOnFlat tyres have been fitted and Goodyear has captured a 5% market share.
Worldwide, Goodyear sold more than 1,3-million RunOnFlat tyres in 2004, and the company expects sales for this year to reach two-million.