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YOKOHAMA OFFERS ASSISTANCE WITH FLEET TIRE SELECTION


BY MARY LOU JAY Contributing Writer


As the seventh largest tire manufac-


turer in the world, Yokohama Tires tries to distinguish itself from its larger competi- tors by building long-lasting relationships with both dealers and end users. “The commercial end of Yokohama is


a very hands-on part of our business,” said Jamie McMasters, district sales manager. “It’s not just about selling a tire; it’s about selling the best product for the fleet.” Although all but the very largest fleet own- ers in Texas buy Yokohama tires through dealers like Southern Tire Mart, Yokohama representatives work directly with fleet managers to help them select the right tires for their specific needs. Yokohama’s newest truck tire, the


445/50 R22.5, has an ultra-wide base and is available in a tread for drive or lug tires (the 902L) and a trailer tread (the 407). The company’s existing premium steer line tire—the 101ZL Spec 2—carries a seven year unlimited retread casing warranty. Its premium over-the-road, fuel-efficient, long-haul tire is the 703ZL 32/32. All of Yokohama’s tires have been approved by the EPA’s SmartWay program. One topic that McMasters and his


sales reps have been discussing with fleet managers in recent months is the influx of Chinese tires into the U.S. market. Although these tires sell for less than many other brands—including Yokohama —McMasters said trucking fleets need to look at the big picture to determine if they’re really getting a good deal.


“You really don’t know what a tire


costs you until you finally haul it off to the scrap pile,” he said. Fleet managers need to think about the number of miles they’ll get out of a tire and the number of retreads they can put on it. Did they achieve every- thing that they wanted from the tire? “That’s the difference between buying a


quality truck tire and one that is of lesser quality; you can pay two-thirds the price, but you may have to buy the cheaper tire three times more often than the more expensive one,” he said. “In the long run, you spend a lot more money.” The cheaper tires often won’t take even one retread, because the cas- ing isn’t strong enough, he added. “The three biggest expenses for truck


fleets are drivers, fuel and tires. They have some control over the drivers and some control over the fuel—they can buy futures. But the only way that they can control tires is by buying the quality tire they need to get the biggest bang for the buck,” McMasters said. McMasters is pleased that Yokohama


will now be able to offer its own high-qual- ity tires through TXTA’s member discount program. The company is a 10-year mem- ber of the association, and McMasters serves on TXTA’s Fleet Maintenance Council, which puts on the Technician of the Year contest. (Yokohama sponsors the luncheon for the program.) The company often supplies expert speakers for the Fall Maintenance Council workshops as well.


“THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUYING A QUALITY


TRUCK TIRE AND ONE THAT IS OF LESSER QUALITY; YOU CAN PAY TWO-THIRDS THE PRICE, BUT YOU MAY HAVE TO BUY THE CHEAPER TIRE THREE


TIMES MORE OFTEN THAN THE MORE EXPENSIVE ONE.”


Yokohama Tire will be celebrating its


100th anniversary in 2017 and is expand- ing its U.S. footprint with the construction of


its first freestanding, wholly-owned


truck tire plant in West Point, Mississippi. “It’s a four-phase project; the first phase will be done by 2018, and we will be able to produce one million truck tires a year. When the entire plant is complete, it will be a $1.2 billion facility that will employ over 2,000 people, and produce a combina- tion of truck tires and consumer products,” said McMasters. Some truck fleets will undoubtedly


purchase some of those tires at the dis- counted price for TXTA members. “After seven years on the Fleet Maintenance Council, we are excited to have this oppor- tunity,” said McMasters. R


Summer 2015 29


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