FINDLAY, Ohio (May 9, 2008) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. execs said the firm has ceased production of its Starfire associate tire brand in North America and will exit some other unidentified less profitable lines.
Cooper had indicated last year it was considering reducing the number of brands it sells as part of a strategic goal of reducing the SKUs it handles. Cooper continues to offer Starfire-brand tires in Asia, according to Curtis Schneekloth, director of investor relations.
Cooper launched the Starfire brand in 1994 to fit between the Cooper and Mastercraft brands. Most recently it offered the brand in passenger, sport-utility vehicle and light truck sizes, according to the brand's Web site.
Cooper stopped making the brand last year and has depleted inventories, Schneekloth said. Cooper has recommended “suitable alternatives” for those dealers who sold the brand.
Besides the flag Cooper brand, Cooper sells five associate brands — Mastercraft, Dean, Lexington, Mickey Thompson and Dick Cepek — and offers two associated import brands, Avon and Kenda.
Of these, Mastercraft and Lexington are original Cooper brands, while the others were acquired by Cooper in the past decade. Cooper launched the Lexington brand in 2005 as an entry-level brand, about the same time it phased out the Roadmaster and Dominator lines.
Cooper executives noted the firm's North American sales volume dropped 11 percent during the first quarter, with 4 to 4.5 percentage points of that tied to volume the company chose to eliminate.