QINGDAO, China—China Manufacturers Alliance L.L.C., the U.S.-based unit of China's Double Coin Holdings Ltd., is looking to open a larger distribution center this year on the West Coast, probably in Southern California near the shipping ports.
The new warehouse will replace a smaller Southern California facility CMA leases, said Aaron Murphy, CMA vice president.
Interviewed in Qingdao, where he was meeting with customers, Murphy said the new warehouse—which CMA will own—will be comparable in size to CMA's 135,000-sq.-ft. facility in Memphis, Tenn.
Talking about the company's plans for 2010, he confirmed CMA's intention to roll out its previously announced farm tire program in North America, with the first sizes set for introduction late in the year.
Initially, CMA will offer 10 to 15 radial R-1 sizes, all of which will be made at Double Coin's tire plant in Rugao, China. Double Coin is manufacturing and marketing the radial farm program globally, with CMA responsible for the North American portion of this program.
The company also will expand the line into front-wheel assists “as we go forward in 2011,” Murphy said.
In off-the-road tires, CMA's product lineup spans sizes in rim diameters ranging from 25 to 49 inches, and the company is evaluating the development of a 57-inch OTR radial.
“We now offer as a product lineup almost 70 SKUs in our OTR product category, and that includes radial industrial, radial skid steer, radial OTR and radial high-speed crane,” he said.
Factory still planned
Double Coin also is moving forward on plans to build a radial passenger tire factory near the Rugao plant. The company is undergoing its due diligence to set a timetable for construction.
The plant's annual capacity is slated for 3 million passenger and light truck tires for both export and domestic shipments and will be expanded as more demand occurs. The target date for products hitting the market is late 2011, Murphy said.
“I think our timing will be right to participate heavily in the market when the tariff (on Chinese made passenger and light truck tires exported to the U.S.) ends,” he said.
“But that does not mean we won't bring in products before (the tariff) expires. That will be determined by market demand.”
Double Coin produces and markets several brands, including flag lines Double Coin and Warrior—the latter licensed to Michelin for passenger and light truck tires through year-end 2011—and associate brands Wynstar, Dynastar, Dynatrail and several others.
In truck tires, he highlighted the company's recently becoming the first Chinese tire manufacturer to offer a SmartWay-verified truck tire—the Double Coin FT105 trailer tire.
The SmartWay Transport Partnership program is a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the freight sector designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions, and improve energy security.
With the FT105 already verified, Double Coin will move forward—probably in the next few months—on other truck-tire positions, “so that we can offer a full lineup of the EPA's SmartWay-verified technology tires,” Murphy said.
The products include the fuel-efficient FR605 steer- and FD405 drive-position radials. These tires use advanced tread compounds and internal construction to provide lower rolling resistance and longer mileage.
“All the senior management at CMA and Double Coin are extremely proud of the products we're producing today,” Murphy said.
“Not only having a fuel-efficient product lineup but also one that's SmartWay-verified technology further differentiates us from the other tire manufacturers based in China.”
He said Double Coin does not want to be considered a Tier 3 manufacturer.
“We want to differentiate us from Tier 3 manufacturers and be recognized in the upper tiers of (truck and bus radial) products,” he said.
Murphy said based on the firm's sales and recent market share numbers in North America, “we believe that dealers and users and the OEMs are beginning to see the value of Double Coin-manufactured products.”
In 2009, Double Coin truck tires garnered a 2.5-percent share of the U.S. truck tire market, he said.