By Theodore Opara
SUMITOMO Rubber South Africa, PTY, LTD SRSA, manufacturer of the popular Dunlop tyre brand, launched the Dunlop High Performance Sport SP FM800 tyre at its dealer meeting in Lagos, in partnership with Tyre Express Nigeria Limited.
Some 50 dealers were hosted at the launch, which was attended by guests of honour including His Royal Highness, Prince Olusegun Aderemi, as well as Chairman of Tyre Express Nigeria, Jaber Abbas, Director, Mr. Govind Ram and Executive Director of Sumitomo Rubber Industries, SRI, Mr Yutaka Kuroda.
SRSA Chief Executive Officer, Riaz Haffejee, expressed his excitement about the prospects for growth of its Dunlop and Sumitomo Tyre brands in Africa. “Nigeria’s market for tyres is approximately four million a year and the country is a key market in terms of our Africa strategy, which sees us focusing on countries with great growth potential and expanding markets,” said Haffejee.
The Dunlop brand and retail presence were relaunched in Nigeria two years ago. With the launch of the FM800 tyre coinciding with International Nelson Mandela Day, Haffejee reminded the audience of the impact Mandela had on the world. “For us as Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, the famous quote attributed to Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” was so apt for our relaunch of Dunlop in Nigeria and we are very proud of the progress made since then,” he said.
“We have confidence in our distributors, Tyre Express Nigeria, a subsidiary of DWA, which operates in a number of countries in West Africa, to leverage these advantages. It is an ideal partnership, in that the company caters to all segments of this market, in particular Passenger Car Radial, PCR, 4×4 and Truck/Bus Radial, TBR,” added Haffejee.
Tyre Express Nigeria is the sole authorised distributor for Dunlop and Sumitomo tyres in Nigeria. It boasts a Dunlop Zone and four Dunlop Express stores in Nigeria, in addition to a well-established dealer network.
He said SRSA, through Dunlop, offered training assistance and technical expertise to back up its superior quality products like the new Dunlop High Performance Sport SP FM800.
The SP FM800 tyre offers a new profile design that reduces deformation stress and improves energy consumption, rolling resistance, fuel efficiency and safety due to increased traction and braking response.
Its next generation pattern with four wide, longitudinal grooves and deep lateral groovesincorporates the latest design and technology. This provides a tyre with all-round performance improvements including remarkable wet weather handling, braking and hydroplaning resistance, while a new compound with silica loading increases wet grip.
Mr Gautam Singh Ghai, Executive Director of Tyre Express Nigeria, said: “As sole distributors for the Dunlop and Sumitomo Rubber tyre brands in Nigeria, we are delighted to be able to offer products like the SP FM800. We have the on the ground experience in this market where we are active in the retail market with our Dunlop Zone and Dunlop Express stores, our dealer network and in the fleet and institutional business. Our retail stores are open 365 days a year from 07h00 to 22h00 every day of the week,” he added.
“We are the first company in Nigeria and West Africa to launch tyre insurance through a tie-up with a reputable insurance company in Nigeria,” he added.