QUINCY, Ill.—Frustrated by the slow acceptance of its LSW low-sidewall agricultural tire concept by the large original equipment farm equipment makers, Titan International Inc. is plowing resources into a “pull-through” marketing plan that attempts to influence the OE decision makers by generating demand at the replacement level.
Titan Chairman and CEO Maurice "Morry" Taylor told financial analysts recently that the firm's efforts to create pull-through demand from big farmers, large contractors and mining companies is allowing it to gain momentum with key vehicle makers and to convert new customers daily.
Looking forward, Taylor said Titan is counting on these efforts to get customers to adopt its LSW low-sidewall tire concepts, which Titan touts as a low-pressure alternative to conventional radials.
Titan's initiative comes at a time when the Quincy-based manufacturer of farm and OTR tires and wheels is struggling with lower sales.
For the quarter ended June 30, sales fell 28.2 percent to $376.1 million—a plunge Titan attributed to the negative effects of lower agricultural equipment sales, “competitive pressures” and unfavorable currency translation.
At the same time, though, Titan reported its gross profit more than doubled and the firm returned to the black for both income from operations and net income, performances Taylor said demonstrate Titan is “on the right track.”
A key element of Titan's LSW initiative is to focus attention on the reality of how farmers work in their fields day to day vs. theoretical advantages of using increased flexion/very high flexion tires, according to Scott Sloan, agricultural products manager for Titan.
IF/VF tires are designed to allow farmers to run them at lower pressures for greater efficiency, Sloan said, but Titan's research shows very few farmers are disciplined enough to adjust tire inflation pressures regularly when equipment is used for different applications. Not operating IF/VF tires at the proper pressure, he contends, essentially negates the performance advantages of these types of tires, which sell at a premium.