FINDLAY, Ohio (Nov. 4, 2009) — Tire distributor and private brand marketer Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. has responded to tariffs on Chinese tire imports by hiking prices 10 to 15 percent on some lines.
Bill Trimarco, CEO of Findlay-based Hercules, said that, like other tire marketers, the company is feeling the pressure from the tariffs on imports of Chinese-made passenger and light truck tires imposed by President Barack Obama in September because about a third of Hercules' product offerings come from China.
“We monitor the market on a daily basis in terms of what's happening price-wise,” Trimarco said. “We've committed to holding our prices through the end of the year.”
He said he believes the tariffs and raw material prices will cause tire prices industrywide to rise again next year. The tariffs also are making it more expensive to operate a tire business, Trimarco added.
Proprietary brands handled by Hercules include: Avalanche; Hercules; Ironman; Merit; and Signet. Other brands carried by the company are: BKT; Bridgestone; Bedrock; Deestone; Denman; Dick Cepek; Double Coin; Dunlop; Falken; Federal; Firestone; Fuzion; Hankook; Kumho; Mickey Thompson; Nexen; Solideal; Taishan; Techking; Toyo; Vogue; and Yokohama.
“In a segment of our business, we're taking lower margins, and this puts pressure on our company in terms of how we manage expenses, including personnel costs,” Trimarco said.
Hercules is evaluating its tire supply and is committed to building the Hercules brand, he added. Imports from China will continue, but the marketer is looking at suppliers in other parts of the world to supplement its current offering, he said.