OSAKA, Japan (Oct. 17, 2011)—Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has agreed to work with international tire distributor YHI International Ltd. to introduce Toyo's associate Nitto brand to the Chinese market, via YHI's subsidiary in Shanghai.
The deal is part of Toyo's global plan to more than double sales of the Nitto brand to nearly 17 million units annually by 2015, the company said. That would represent 15 percent of Toyo's sales volume, up from about 9 percent in 2010.
Toyo said it also plans to start developing markets for the Nitto brand in Asia, South America, Oceania and other areas to support growth. The brand's strongest base is in North America, the Japanese tire maker said.
YHI, a publicly traded company on the Singapore Stock Exchange, is engaged in tire and wheel distribution and owns its own wheel manufacturing business in Malaysia. YHI has been linked most closely with Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., for which YHI has distributed tires for more than 30 years.
YHI is Yokohama's authorized distributor in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. Earlier this year it sold to Yokohama minority interests it held in distribution and manufacturing ventures in China.
YHI also distributes in various countries Nankang tires from Taiwan, Nexen from South Korea, Neuton, Achilles and Accelera from Indonesia, J.K. Tyres from India and others, YHI said, along with wheels and other automotive products.
YHI's main distribution hubs are in Singapore, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, with warehousing in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
The company generated more than $380 million in sales last year.
Toyo said it agreed to work through YHI Corp. in Shanghai after evaluating various sales networks in China.
The tire maker said building the Nitto brand is part of its five-year business plan to expand its tire business more than 40 percent to about $4 billion.