December 1, 2004

Hercules Tire boosts Ultra Touring product line by adding 20 sizes…

Mississauga, Ontario – Hercules Tire Canada today announced the introduction of 20 new tire sizes and a total of 49 SKUs (stock keeping units) to further enhance popularity of its own brand, the Ultra Touring consumer tire. New sizes are expected to roll into Hercules Tire dealers across Canada during January, 2005.

“We’re adding tire sizes to include all applicable speed ratings and additional sizes within each speed-rated category,” said Rob Keller, vice-president of Hercules Tire Canada. “If an Original Equipment (OE) tire is introduced by a new vehicle manufacturer from North America, Japan, or Europe, we want to be ready to offer consumers an alternative to a national brand. Our plan is to remain current with fitments offered by vehicle manufacturers.”

“Hercules Tire is positioned to be a viable option for consumers looking to replace their OE tires. Plenty of tire testing and evaluation is being conducted to support this strategy. In fact, during a recent Ride and Drive event at a test track in San Antonio, Texas, a group of 18 Hercules Tire dealers were given first-hand experience. Two driving groups were created and using two Ford Mustangs, each vehicle was fitted with Hercules 55-series tires. The groups tested both ‘T’-rated and ‘V’-rated tires.” According to Keller, ‘V’-rated tire performance was tested to be 8-10 percent faster on a consistent basis.

“In the winter tire categories, sales of passenger, light truck and SUVs across the board have dramatically increased 10-15 percent versus last year,” said Keller. “When customers are shopping for a set of four winter tires, we recommend they make sure Transport Canada’s stamp – the snowflake symbol – is on every tire sidewall purchased.”

“Consumers view winter tires as a pure automotive expense. However, smart consumers realize they’re investing in eight tires and will have optimum tire performance for 12 months,” Keller said. “These consumers also tend to purchase an extra set of wheels to simplify the installation process. This means a quick changeover at the dealer outlet. This especially applies if you have an expensive wheel on the vehicle, typically alloy or chrome, which do not ‘winter well’ primarily because of the salt on our roads.”

“From a recommendation standpoint, a professional dealer/service provider will insist on putting on four winter tires. It’s a must for front-wheel-drive vehicles and it’s recommended for rear-wheel-drive vehicles as well. It’s purely a safety and handling issue,” Keller added.

“We stock 55 different sizes in our winter tire line-up under the Signet Winter Trax and Polar Trax brands. In terms of coverage, this number equates to 95 percent of all vehicles on Canadian roads including passenger vehicles, light trucks and SUVs,” said Keller.

Hercules Tire Canada has 350 dealers located in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Hercules-brand tires in Western Canada are sold through Remington Tire, based in Edmonton.

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