How to take off
From the Land of the Rising Sun a dynamic brand active in the sports segment. A wide range that is the outcome of a decade of consolidated experience which includes competitions
By Duilio Damiani
Projected towards the competitive arena, a specific element in the brand's DNA is a passion for sport supported on the Old Continent since 1999 by its presence at prestigious racing appointments through the commitment promoted also in 2011 by the Falken Motorsports Team, which takes part in major competitions on the famous track at Nürburgring.
In Italy it acquired a special niche as a dynamic brand mainly for sports cars. To correctly place it in today's vast panorama, it is not enough to know that the Falken brand is part of the Japanese company, Sumitomo, and represents a series of successful tyres mainly for the luxury segment, with UHP models being the lords and masters. For some time the Consor Tyres Group consortium has been introducing products from the Japanese industry to Italy, with emphasis on their performance and highly sporty characteristics.
A young industry set up in Japan in 1983 as a branch of Ohtsu Tire and Rubber, Falken Tire was acquired by the Sumitomo Group in 2003 as a brand of mainly luxury products, now represented in Europe by Falken Tyre Europe Gmbh (www.falken-europe.de). This distribution and sales network focuses in particular on the specific characteristics of the European market (the company in the USA is Falken Tire Co.) and has a young and motivated organization with prospects for growth, as specified in the company's mission: quality above all, with a range focused on covering a wide segment of users.
Projected towards the competitive arena, a specific element in the brand's DNA is a passion for sport supported on the Old Continent since 1999 by its presence at prestigious racing appointments through the commitment promoted also in 2011 by the Falken Motorsports Team, which takes part in major competitions on the famous track at Nürburgring. The team's flag bearer, a bright red Porsche 911 GT3 with tyres by Falken, of course, will compete against its toughest rivals for the VLN Endurance Racing Championship on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the main track for endurance events during which tyres play a determining role as they are subjected to maximum dynamic stresses throughout the 24 hours of the competition.
A varied range
The comprehensive range is represented by about a dozen models, in addition to three for light trucks, which are widely distributed throughout Italy.
For high-performance saloons and the most aristocratic GTs, Falken is on the Italian market with a vast series of the sporty FK452, all with W and Y speed ratings, for rims from 16 to 22 inches, with a shoulder ratio from 60 to a super low profile of 25 and sizes from 205 to 315 mm, in addition to the dynamic Ziex ZE 912, also for luxury cars, with sizes between 175/64 R14 and 265/35 R18. The seasonal offer is completed with the consolidated lines in the Sincera intermediate range with the series SN807, SN816, SN828 and the asymmetric SN831, divided by category of vehicle and characterized by long life and good handling, acoustic comfort and manoeuvrability. The brand also has something for compact cars in the FK 07 range for medium-small small vehicles with 14" rims. The Falken Sincera range is original equipment on various saloons from the Daihatsu Sirion, Cuore and Trevis, to the Nissan Pixo and Micra, up to the Subaru Justy and Suzuki Alto.
In parallel with car tyres, those for SUVs are strategically important for the Group as they are the focus of attention of more trend-conscious markets. And in fact also available in Italy is the series ZE912 SUV (a pattern available also for saloons), with H, V and W speed ratings and a particularly wide choice of sizes that will meet the various needs of users. These are in addition to the more specific and cutting-edge AT and AT110 for classic sizes of 15 and 16 inches and the more aggressive Ziex TZ01 for high-performance maxi SUVs; in 18 and 20 inch rim sizes and W speed rating (up to 270 km/h).
Three versions of the classic and functional tread pattern are for light trucks in the OHTSU M2 and RI103 ranges, and for the versatile R51 Van, with good dynamism and interesting running costs.
• A consortum for distribution
Under the aegis of the Consor Tyres Group (www.consortyres.it), a short list of nine companies representative of their regions - Astigiana Gomme, Battistella Gomme, Carlini Gomme, Ciavarella Pneumatici, New Tyre, Olpneus, Pneutec, Top Services and Tagliabue Gomme Gross - operate throughout Italy with covered warehouses in a total of 55,000 m2. The purpose of the young consortium set up in 2009 with an assistance and coordination base in Asti, is to offer professionalism by operating independently in their relevant areas by pursuing a network of shared objectives.
By means of a specific and consolidated approach, the consortium has improved market efficiency in terms of distribution coverage, service and prompt response to the specific needs of individual customers. The support offered includes a B2B program with analyses of the consolidated availability of all its members which, according to the consortium, enables delivery within 24 hours (48 hours if outside a specific area) with subsequent distribution by its own vehicles or by regional courier services. Continual monitoring identifies the specific needs of the local market to offer individual administration services for integrated marketing, the management of targeted sales conditions, and consolidated warehouse management. Consor Tyres Group covers different ranges of vehicles, from cars to 4x4s, motorbikes and trucks in addition to agricultural and earth moving vehicles, with about fifteen of the best-known and emerging brands. The consortium has sold 3 million tyres equal to a turnover of 176 million euros, with the involvement of about 15,000 customers in 2010.