Vee Rubber America Inc. is expanding its presence in North America with new products, distributors and a warehouse in the Atlanta area, according to company executives.
The U.S. subsidiary of Thailand's Vee Rubber Corp. Ltd. is rolling out two tire lines new to North America—the Winter Season IV studdable snow tire and the Taiga H/T light truck tire—and expanding the size range for its Vitron all-season performance tire and Traimate trailer tire line, said Patrick Hyland, sales/-marketing manager for the U.S. company.
He discussed the company's activities at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Cleveland Sept. 21-23.
Additionally, Vee Rubber displayed at its booth at ITEC an all-terrain version of the Taiga light truck tire line it expects to have available before year-end in both black and white-letter fitments.
A mud terrain version also is under development but won't be available until late 2011 or 2012.
Vee Rubber now has distributors and dealers in place that provide it with 90-percent coverage in the U.S. and 80 percent in Canada, Hyland said.
Lithia Springs, Ga.-based Vee Rubber also has bought a 60,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Atlanta and plans to move a smaller motorcycle tire warehousing operation there before year-end, Hyland said, as well as set up a base of operations for the company's technical sales and engineering force.
Vee Rubber will stock some consumer tires at the new warehouse, he said, but these will be principally for filling in orders occasionally. Otherwise the company will continue to conduct business with its distributors via container-load shipments from the factory near Bangkok.
Vee Rubber America has benefited to a degree from the elevated tariffs on Chinese consumer tires, Hyland said.
However, the company is more focused on building long-term relationships with dealers and distributors that share Vee's strategy of building the brand.
The increased business from North America and other export markets is requiring Vee Rubber Corp. to invest in expanding capacity.
Vitorn Sukanjanapong, Vee Rubber man- aging director, declined to discuss specifics at this time.
Consumer tires represent about 40 percent of Vee Rubber Corp.'s annual sales, Sukanjanapong said, with about 95 percent of this segment being exported. North America is the largest export market, accounting for close to half of the exports.
Vee Rubber also disclosed it is developing an associate brand with its own tread patterns, but this move is still at an early stage, the executives said.