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A flagship brand seldom makes much of a dent in a tire manufacturer's overall sales. It's often the company's high profile, ultra-high performance niche tire. Nonetheless, the flagship brand sends a positive message to the tire-buying public about every tire in the line, from premium to entry level.
Call it, with apologies to former President Ronald Reagan, the "trickle down theory."
This month, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is waving its new flagship brand. The Eagle F-1, for Formula One, high performance tire line "signifies the pinnacle of Goodyear high performance equity," says Marco Molinari, Goodyear's vice president of sales and marketing, North American tires.
"Every brand needs a flagship product to drive its brand equity to new and higher levels." (For more on the new Eagle F-1 line, see story, page 58.)
Yokohama Tire Corp., another domestic tire marketer with significant high performance market share, introduced its AVS S1 during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas late last year. It will be available to independent dealers next month.
Both introductions follow on the heels of similar announcements from Michelin North America Inc. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. (BFS).
Last September, Michelin introduced its Pilot line - already well-established in Europe - into the domestic replacement market. The Pilot SX MXX3 is the flagship of the ultra-high performance line.
BFS introduced its Firestone flagship line, the Firehawk SZ50, last June. Three new sizes were added to the lineup in January. At the same time, four sizes were added to the Bridgestone flagship line, Potenza S-02.
Continental General Tire Inc. is adding sizes to its General XP2000 …