WILLICH, Germany—Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has established Toyo Tire Deutschland GmbH in Willich to handle sales and service for customers in Germany and Austria.
The decision to do so reflects Toyo's focus on bolstering tire sales throughout Europe, the company said, and comes just weeks after Toyo struck a deal with Italy's AC Milan soccer club to become that team's “premium sponsor” through June 2016.
Toyo Tire Deutschland becomes Toyo Tire's fifth individual national/region sales company; the others are: Toyo Tyre (UK) Ltd. in Rushden, England; Toyo Tire Benelux B.V. in Roosendaal, The Netherlands; Toyo Tire Italia S.p.A. in Collesalvetti, Italy; and Toyo Tire RUS L.L.C. in Moscow; along with a representative office in Madrid, Spain.
The change allows Toyo Tire Europe GmbH to act more as a holding company, establishing management function to strengthen the controlling function of each subsidiary. The restructuring also will promote cohesive pricing policies and integrated marketing, optimal distribution and more agile management, Toyo said.
Naoki Gonsui, president of Toyo Tire Europe since December, assumes the presidency of Toyo Tire Deutschland as well. Both are located in Willich. The new subsidiary has 17 employees while the European holding has 26, Toyo said.
Toyo's deal with AC Milan—considered one of the world's elite clubs, with 18 league titles and 18 international championships—potentially could help promote the Toyo brand in places such as the Middle East and Russia, China and Southeast Asia because the soccer club has a wide following globally.
Toyo said supporting a “powerful, individual and genuinely proficient “club like AC Milan will contribute to “improving the global presence of the Toyo brand and, in turn, will allow us to more clearly bring out the potential premium image of the products we offer.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Toyo is one of six premium sponsors for AC Milan; Toyo did not elaborate on what being a premium sponsor means in terms of exposure.
Toyo does not break out Europe separately in its financial reporting, but Europe is part of the firm's “other” geographical segment, which represents about 17 percent of Toyo's global sales, or roughly $670 million, according to the firm's 2013 financials.
Toyo did not comment specifically on its sales goals for Europe, but said the business environment in Europe appears to have bottomed out and Toyo Tires' business has been rallying steadily on an upward trend.