Toyo Tire & Rubber Co, Japan's fourth-biggest tyre maker, has set up a wholly owned sales subsidiary _ Toyo Tire (Thailand) or TTT _ in Thailand with registered capital of 100 million baht to capitalise on a burgeoning local business.
TTT managing director Kanji Kasai said the parent company sees healthy growth in the Thai automotive industry, which sold 1.4 million vehicles locally last year, sees a year-on-year increase of 80% and is ranked the 13th-largest car market in the world.
Established on April 1 this year, TTT will provide marketing, sales and strategic business support to dealers supplying the Toyo tyres brand.
The move represents Toyo Tire & Rubber's confidence in Thailand as a strategic market in Southeast Asia, Mr Kasai said.
He said TTT will proactively enhance Toyo Tires' brand awareness among Thai consumers through five specific tyre models developed with technology from Japan. It will boost its marketing and sales by doubling dealerships nationwide to 500 by 2015.
TTT will import all the tyres from plants in Malaysia and Japan, said Mr Kasai.
The new factory in Perak, Malaysia, costing US$260 million, began operations in May.
Mr Kasai said there is no need for the parent company to invest in setting up new tyre plant in Thailand.
Toyo tyres have been recognised as a premium product for the past 43 years in Thailand.
They were sold through Khow Inter Business Co, the tyre company's authorised importer and distributor in Thailand.
The low-profile Khow Inter Business is an offshoot of the Shuntai Group, a 50-year veteran of the tyre business.
Suthipol Leenawat, TTT's executive director, said the company plans to spend 60 million baht in marketing via TV commercials, social media advertising and motor sports sponsorships.
TTT plans to sell 120,000 to 180,000 replacement tyres this year, 400,000 next year and 600,000 in 2015.
TTT expects the replacement-tyre market in Thailand to drop by 5-10% this year from 3 million tyres last year but rebound by 3-5% in 2014.
About the author
- Writer: Piyachart Maikaew
Position: Business Reporter