Yokohama opens new subsidiary in Mexico

Yokohama Tire Mexico to give the company long-term strategic advantages, says subsidiary's president.

Yokohama Tire Corporation's new subsidiary, Yokohama Tire Mexico, officially began importing consumer, commercial and off-the-road (OTR) tires in Mexico on May 1. Incorporated in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico, YTMX is squarely positioned to give YTC long-term strategic advantages. In this Q&A, YTMX's President, Gary Nash, discusses what those advantages are, the long-term vision for the company and the positive impact dealers can expect.

Question: What was the reason to finally put a stake in the ground in Mexico and establish a subsidiary?

Nash: It's the fastest-growing market in North America. It's the fifth largest country, 12th largest economy in the world and has the second highest GDP in Latin America. It has the largest bus fleet globally, the eighth largest truck population and the seventh largest truck market. Overall, it offers more potential growth than the U.S. in all three tire categories.

Plus, with YTMX, we have become the importer of record. This means we can build up inventory, warehouse them locally and deliver them directly to our dealers. For Yokohama, this creates a much higher business efficiency and increased cost control. For the dealers, YTMX means increased responsiveness to their needs. It's a win for both sides of the table.

Question: What is YTC's history in Mexico and what is the strategic plan going forward?

Gary Nash: In 2008 we were chosen by our parent company, YRC (The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd.), to take over the distribution of Yokohama products in Mexico. Since 2009, we've been signing quite a few reputable dealers throughout the country. YTMX is the extension of our ongoing efforts to grow our presence there.

Our strategic plan includes setting up a full-fledged sales, marketing and distribution operation. We'll start by establishing a corporate office where we will hire a general manager locally, sales manager and others who will be supported by the YTC headquarters in the U.S. until we can get fully staffed.

On May 1, YTMX officially began importing in Mexico and billing our dealers in pesos.

Question: Will the U.S. sales team be selling to Mexico or will there be a team in Mexico?

Nash: Our U.S. staff is serving as advisors who will educate and train. We currently have John Cooney, the YTC director who's been working on Mexico. He and I will supervise the hiring of key personnel.

YTC's Percy Cottle will have a consumer/commercial zone manager role, and Joe Garcia will oversee all of OTR for Mexico and we'll be launching recruitment efforts to put the proper sales and support staff in place in Mexico.

Personally, I've been selling tires in Mexico since 1980 when I was with another company. The people of Mexico have a desire to buy a good product and have it serviced. I was amazed there was no one down there offering these aftermarket services.

When I came to Yokohama, it was the first time I had the authority to go into Mexico and actually develop relationships. I have a lot of friends in Mexico calling and saying, 'Hey, we want to be a dealer.' We have a wide range of choices for dealers and what we want to do is find the ones who are going to support the customer.

If you read about how to do business in Mexico, the first thing you have to make sure is that people have confidence in your company. One of my strengths has always been that people have confidence in me and my integrity, so that's what I'll bring to the YTMX subsidiary.

Question: Since you're based in Fullerton, Calif., how much traveling to Mexico will you do?

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