A few months have passed since the 2017 CV Show at the NEC in Birmingham, where Giti Tire’s Europe-wide rebranding exercise was brought into full focus in the UK for the first time. Now that the CV Show dust has settled, Commercial Tyre Business thought it was a prime opportunity to catch up with the company to hear about the progress of their rebranding project, as well as any other interesting news they had to report to the market.
Firstly, let’s take a trip back to before the rebranding exercise began, to when Giti Tire had two well-established brands in two different parts of the world, but were having difficulty communicating to the market the fact that, despite each brand being designed for its own region, there was a high degree of synergy between them. These two brands were GT Radial, which will be well recognised by readers of Commercial Tyre Business with it being employed in EU territories, and secondly the Giti truck and bus brand, which was well established and respected in Asia. This can be seen by the fact that today the company has over 300 OE contracts in China alone.
To resolve this, Giti decided to undergo an alignment of its truck and bus operation. The main objective of this mission was to match-up the branding from Asia to that in the EU in order to create a global synergy, where the Giti truck and bus brand is the same in every corner of the world. Richard Hutchins, Giti’s Regional Market Intelligence & Product Planning Manager Commercial Tyres – Europe expanded; “one of the major obstacles we faced as a company was that research and development was duplicated, meaning we had two different development programmes and departments for two different brands. Bringing the branding under one umbrella allows for a more streamlined and efficient approach.”
The next stage was handling the transition between the two brands. Hutchins explained to Commercial Tyre Business that their approach was to look at successful ranges from both markets and bring them across to either Asia or the EU, whilst improving and or adapting them to suit the local market needs and requirements to ensure every offering was fit for purpose. All things considered, Giti Tire is expecting to have the branding operation complete by the end of the year, due to their flat and lean organisation. Hutchins adds; “Everything went through a reassessment process, which made sense to see what could be improved. For instance, we looked at our Asian products to see what could fit certain EU niches, before getting them tested and bringing them to market. In essence, the transition has covered the transfer of existing products, new products and the re-certification of Asian products, in some cases also instigating necessary changes to meet EU regulations and to satisfy operator requirements.”
This transition has resulted in Giti Tire having 77 products now in the EU Catalogue with another seven being implement by the end of July, pending certification. It has also resulted in a plethora of new products and adaptations for the tyre press to write about. The first changes relate to the Combi-Road range, a portfolio intended to give flexibility in several applications, whilst combining regional haul and long-haul benefits. Subsequently, there have been a few tweaks to comply with EU regulations and customer needs. Specifically, though, the GSR259 needed to deliver extra load on the front axle, and the GDR655 now comes in three sizes with 3PMSF certification for winter operations. Regarding the Long-Haul portfolio, which contains five products, the biggest change concerns the GTL919. The GTL919, available in eight sizes, now has an increased load capacity for low-loader trailers. The range also boasts the GDL617, which was brought straight across from GT Radial due to its success. Similarly, a few changes have been undertaken in the Regional segment, with some changes made to the GAR820. The product has seen its load index increased with a new size 9.5 R 17.5 being offered. Hutchins expanded on this by saying; “this tyre is an example of one that was used widely in Asia, but we have brought it across to the EU due to customer requests. It’s not a hugely popular size in the EU, but we have found that it has been quietly successful sitting on a global platform.”
Moving on, the brand-new GAM851 with enhanced labelling highlights the Mixed-Service segment after it was launched at Essen to replace the GT876. Up until now the all-position steer and trailer tyre has performed very well and passed 3PMSF certification. The portfolio also sees a tidied-up version of the GAM837 in the 295/80R22.5 size. Yet more adaptations and changes have occurred in the Urban range, with the main addition being the addition of the 315/80R22.5 size to the GT867 pattern. The creation of this came about following a direct request from Giti Tire’s customer base, highlighting the company’s willingness to listen to the needs of the market and of their customers. The pattern is specifically targeted at waste collection vehicles in urban operations, with it being characterised by an improved curbing band and a high load capacity to suit euro 6 vehicle axle loads. Once again, the product was transferred across from Asia following its success and is now being used to serve the needs of the waste sector, as well as on some buses. Regarding the Winter portfolio, the main change concerns the GSW226, where the load capacity was increased as Giti Tire sought out another opportunity to tweak and improve one of their products.
On the product development, reassessment and rebranding, Hutchins commented; “the rebranding exercise has really given us a great opportunity to assess our current product portfolio and offer new products or an improved one, giving us the chance to serve all types of niches. We’ve met our targets from what we set at Essen in terms of production, marketing and sales etc., and additionally our support services are also undergoing development.”
Giti Tire’s new tyre range was not the only rebranding exercise they have had to manage recently, they have also had a second rebranding project that focuses on their retread range. Giti Tire only retread their own casings, and decided to rebrand the range under the name “Genesis”. Hutchins explains; “we had to bring the range up to date and bring a clear definition between the old and the new.”
The Genesis Retread portfolio includes four sizes over two patterns. three of them are drive options and one is for trailers with all products being targeted at UK retread markets. All of the offerings are retreaded locally to reduce environmental impact and transport costs. Richard Hutchins adds; “retreading lowers the operational costs and proves the quality of the original Giti casings, which is critical when targeting fleets. Tyre policies are becoming more and more an environmental issue, highlighting the importance of reusing the carcass.”
Regarding the changeover in the retread branding, Hutchins only had positive things to say. The new products have been very well accepted in the market, and the process has passed by smoothly. However, what Giti see as a key aspect in their retread strategy is the ‘use of reliable and quality retreaders and materials’, since these are the tangibles that can directly affect the reputation of the product.