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29/08/2012
FROM ACCESSORIES TO TYRES

MOMO TIRES
A new product expected this autumn is the tyre by one of Italy’s automotive aftermarket specialists. Synergies between Momo Srl and Univergomma SpA have led to a new range of tyres by the well-known Italian brand

Duilio Damiani

THIS IS NOT just a commercial operation: the expected line by Momo, a preview of which was presented at the recent fair in Essen, Germany, is an absolutely new brand of tyres with a complete range for winter, summer, passenger cars, vans, SUVs and off-roads.
Following a collaboration with the various protagonists in this debut, Momo has entered the increasingly specialized tyre arena flanked by Univergomma, the national distributor with over fifty years of experience in the sector, and Jinyu of China, a young group in the tyre industry that was set up in 1995, is currently expanding its technology and production and will handle the manufacturing processes. The union was created in 2009, when “… the foundations were laid thanks to the meeting between Univergomma and Momo at Autopromotec three years ago, when both companies intended to launch a new product on the market”, as Alexandra Peccia, head of marketing at Univergomma SpA, explained. “The intention was not to create a private brand by an anonymous make, but to make use of Momo’s experience in order to create a line that would be identified as an established, recognizable and obviously Italian brand”.
This led to the agreement between Momo and Univergomma, the company that specializes in distributing tyres throughout Italy and through whose expertise the new product’s technical and qualitative specifications were defined in synergy with the Asian technicians. So it should come as no surprise that, after lengthy consultation, the young Chinese industry based in the Qingdao production centre and with an advanced R&D department, was chosen for the production processes – it had been in the Univergomma catalogue for three years as it was one of first the international distributors of Jinyu tyres. The modern factory in China, which has a capacity of 12 million SUV and van tyres a year, in addition to another production site that produces over 2.5 million truck and bus tyres with the Shandong Jinyu Tire label, will be flanked in the near future by a second factory designed to meet the growing demand for consumer and third-party products, as in the case of the Italian project, which, when it is up and running, will increase production capacity to 24 million tyres.

The debut
A specialist in the automotive aftermarket sector, Momo was set up in the Sixties thanks to the enthusiasm of Gianpiero Moretti. Since then, its road and track products have been established throughout the world and 40 years after it made its first alloy sports rim, in September it will be able to complete it with its own tyre.
As we said, between the first meeting at Autopromotec 2009 in Bologna and the official presentation of the range at Reifen 2102 in Essen, three years have gone by. During this time, all the definition and implementation processes have been completed: from target identification, with product positioning in the intermediate section of the quality tyre segment, to structure design in accordance with its own specifications and, finally, to the start up of the lines with the first prototypes developed by the Asian manufacturer that completed the definition of the tread patterns established by Momo Tires.
Towards the end of last year, the definitive range made its debut with the first four seasonal series dedicated to winter tyres and represented by the North Pole models, with W-1 and W-2 tread patterns for mid-low and mid-high powered cars, respectively, in a wide range of sizes for rims from 13 to 18 inches, with the first 30 sizes on the market from 1 September and another 25 planned for 2013 in sizes from 155/80 R13 to 245/40 R18. For sport utility vehicles there is the SUV Pole range in 16 sizes from 205/70 R15 to 275/40 R20 which will be available between this year and next; for light commercial vehicles, there are 8 products between 165/70 R14 and 195/65 R16 in the Van Pole series.
In this start-up stage, the first cautious approach to the market will include initial distribution by Univergomma, the official Momo Srl licensee for the Momo Tires brand, of a limited number of tyres mainly in the Italian and European markets in general, thanks to the identification of commercial partners in each market. In addition to this, important contacts are underway for expanding the range of tyres at global level, including the interesting American scenario, where the Momo brand is particularly well-known and popular. As well as increasing the range of sizes for winter tyres, debuting next spring are the summer range with three tread patterns, M1, M2 and M3, for the Outrun car model for applications from 13 to 18 inches, two lines for SUVs and AWDs, the Rescuer M8 and A-Lusion M9 models from 15 to 20 inches and, of course, a specific model for light commercial vehicles, the Mendex M7, for 14 to 16 inches.

Role definition
The three companies, each one in its specific sector, are an indivisible part of this project. A fundamental role is played by Univergomma, which is represented in the territory by 55 agents, has a portfolio of about 11,000 customers and is always alert to interpreting market trends. Since the end of the Eighties, a prudent commercial strategy enabled the creation of a specific channel for supporting those customers who are particularly receptive to being identified with a brand. This led, in 1989, to setting up Rete Uniservices to target tyre specialists who believe in the motto "the network of professionals for your tyres", and which now boasts over one hundred members, mainly in the centre of Italy but also with a significant number in peripheral regions and Sardinia, who believe that cooperation between the customer and the supplier is the key to success.
The close collaboration between the Tuscan company and the Chinese manufacturer produced the specifications for the structures, compounds and tread patterns made at the Jinyu research centres. The result is a unique and personal range with high levels of quality and not simply a branded copy of previous products.
In addition to collaborating on the technical development of new applications, Univergomma will also handle all aspects of distribution by creating a network of specialists who will oversee the brand in Italy and abroad and select ad hoc partners and distributors.
Momo Srl will define the sidewall designs that will be immediately recognizable and identify the product, and develop precise marketing and brand awareness, the real strategic heart of the operation, with an aggressive, widespread communication that will quickly lead to the success of this ambitious new Italian range.

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