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Global tyre launch set for Victoria

Dirt merchants: BF Goodrich is owned by Michelin, and is the most popular replacement all-terrain tyre in Australia.

BF Goodrich to launch new all-terrain tyre to world press in Victorian high country

15 Nov 2017

By TIM ROBSON

TYRE giant BF Goodrich has confirmed that it will launch its brand new KM3 off-road tyre to the world’s press in Victoria early next year.

The American company – which is owned by Michelin – showed off its new all-terrain mud-spec tyre at the SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race in Mexico, with several competitors in the 1900km point-to-point race using the KM3.

Michelin Australia marketing manager Tim Hoare told GoAuto that Australia would be the first location of a two-tiered launch event for the KM3, with the other taking place on the renowned Rubicon Trail in Colorado soon afterwards.

“Looking at it from a global perspective, the head office in the US made the decision that it was to be a phased launch, with two launch locations around the world to be able to engage as many key influencers around the world.

“One of those locations is obviously the US, and fortunately for us, the second destination is Australia.”

Mr Hoare said that the brand’s strong standing in Australia puts it in good stead with the parent company.

“Australia is one of the best sellers of BF Goodrich outside of the US, so for us it’s quite an honour to host the launch,” he said.

While exact timing is yet to be confirmed, it is expected that up to 60 journalists will converge on the Victorian high country in April or May next year.

“We’re actually launch one. The US will follow in May,” said Mr Hoare.

The wooded trails in the Victorian high country are starkly different to the rocky, dusty tracks of the Rubicon Trail, which is an element that the company is actively seeking.

“They didn’t want to host the same kind of event in a different country,” Mr Hoare said. “We want to show off different aspects of the tyre, and it’s more likely that we’ll have wetter tracks than those on the US launch on the Rubicon Trail.”

Mr Hoare said that the Australian office will have a lot to do with the launch program itself, and a reconnaissance team is currently inspecting routes and venues in Victoria.

“We’re working really with the US team,” he said. “At this stage it’s still very much a global directive so that we’re all on the same page.

“Coincidentally, this week in Melbourne is the site recce (reconnaissance). One of the ambitions of the launch is to bring people along to an event they can’t really do on their own, so to do that, we have to find unique places and hard-to-reach places in order to magnify that experience as much as we can.”

With dual-cab 4x4 pick-ups regularly topping Australian new-vehicle sales charts, Mr Hoare suggested that while more vehicles will be offered next year and beyond with BF Goodrich tyres fitted as standard, sales are coming from customers who are modifying their vehicles for off-road work.

“BF Goodrich doesn’t have a strong OE (original equipment) presence, but definitely the aftermarket 4x4 enthusiast segment is one we are really strong in,” he said. “BF Goodrich sells an enormous amount of tyres in Australia, and it’s a really successful market for the brand.”

Mr Hoare says it is difficult to project the rate of brand growth, even with the volume of off-road type vehicles currently being sold in Australia.

“We’re going through a strong period off the back of our new KO2 tyre from last year, and we expect the KM3 to add to that,” he said. “We do have more competitors coming in, though, some new players who have been successful in the US and who are starting to make their name in Australia.

“Competition will continue to grow, but we’re confident we have to product to be successful for a while yet.”

Tyre brands including Nitto and Toyo are amongst BF Goodrich’s competitor set, while other brands like Cooper cater for more on-road SUV applications.

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