We will also be releasing the 709ZL drive tire. This will be a shallow and ultra-fuel-efficient drive tire and the latest addition to our Zenvironment line-up.
The 709ZL aims to be the most fuel-efficient drive tire in the industry, and, of course, will carry our best-in-industry casing warranty.
Question: How about the production of the tires themselves? Is there talk about building a new commercial tire plant in the U.S.?
Phillips: We are actively looking at a number of options all over the globe to expand production and yes, that would include the possibility of building a facility in the U.S.
We will continue to conduct research and will make a decision based on what is the most appropriate strategically for Yokohama on a global scale.
Question: YTC launched its SmartSolution program in 2011. How has it been received by dealers?
Phillips: SmartSolution has been a remarkable platform for us and has been well received by our commercial dealer network. It is an effective way to get our message out to the industry and to demonstrate the strengths of the Yokohama brand.
When dealers look at all four pillars of the platform and combine the longevity, efficiency, availability and dependability of Yokohama, they appreciate the advantages we bring to their business needs.
Question: Any new updates or programs?
Phillips: SmartSolution is a living entity in and of itself and we will continue to build upon and expand its reach.
There are currently several updates planned throughout the year, including the creation of a Smart Certified Dealer Network. This will identify and recognize our top-tier Full Service Dealers.
We are also looking at several interactive web-based analysis tools as well as apps for smart phones and tablets that will serve as resources for the dealers
Question: You were promoted at the beginning of this year to your current position of director of commercial sales. What have been some of your challenges - and opportunities?
Phillips: Every day is a challenge and at the same time every day is very rewarding. Managing the business with severe supply limitations and rising costs have definitely been at the forefront.
The way you deal with these and any challenge is to be flexible and adaptable without over-reacting and simply staying close with the core values that have made you successful in the market. And at Yokohama, we have been able to do that.
At Yokohama, we have also a highly committed group of individuals that have a wealth of industry experience and which have developed a unique culture as a team. This makes for a very enriching experience every day.
It additionally makes Yokohama a very easy company to do business with and I find that especially gratifying as we provide service to our customers. And last but certainly not the least, I feel fortunate enough to do business with some of the best people in the industry.