As supply chain issues hinder the tire industry, Giti Tire USA continues to add products to lines produced at its plant in Richburg, S.C., helping to satisfy increasing consumer and commercial demand.
Kenny Lee (KL), vice president of sales, consumer tire sales, and Armand Allaire (AA), executive vice president of commercial tire sales, told Tire Business that the tire maker and its U.S. technical center are focused on engineering and producing the right products for the American market.
How would you describe business thus far in 2021?
KL: As pandemic restrictions ease, more people are driving, and there is a greater demand for tires. The overall market is robust this year.
As individuals and families seek an escape from the COVID-related restrictions, we see a return to work, road trips, Sunday drives and overall miles being driven trending to levels closer to normal.
This is a pivotal moment in America when we are rethinking how we will live, work and enjoy life. Rather than running to and from various stores to acquire items, we now order online or by phone for the items to be delivered.
Businesses are rethinking meetings and travel since virtual face-to-face meetings and group discussions can be accomplished all online. Therefore, not all prior commuters will return to their daily routines.
How does this change in behavior affect the automotive and tire industries and their dealers?
KL: It creates an opportunity for those who see the direction and can meet the shift in customer expectations as their customers use vehicles more for pleasure and excursions rather than for work or commuting; yet they are driving as much or more as before.
As a global company with domestic manufacturing, Giti is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. Where demand exists, in those emerging or expanding segments, we will endeavor to fill that demand, whether in OE, replacement or aftermarket channels.
AA: The North American commercial truck tire market had very healthy demand for the first half of 2021, and we see more of the same in the second half, with increase in last-mile deliveries keeping demand on intermediate and short-run trucks and drivers. Giti addressed this trend with the introduction of our Cross Regional and Cross Urban TBR product lines.