TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Hutchinson is courting U.S. product managers with a more North American centric line-up designed to jumpstart its three-year goal to break into the top three tire brands in the market.
Leading the charge is Kevin Buchet, who moved from headquarters in France last March to take over sales and marketing for the North American division. Since Buchet came onboard, Hutchinson has already increased its sales turnover by 75 to 80 percent by instituting a new distribution model, lowering retail prices and hiring regional sales reps.
The U.S. is Hutchinson’s top priority, having already gained strong positioning in France, Italy and Spain. Currently the U.S. ranks fifth in terms of sales volume for Hutchinson, which sells three times as many tires in Spain, Buchet said.
“There is huge potential there for a good brand, produced in France. We control everything and are supported by a company of 3 billion euros with 150 engineers and an R & D budget of 200 million euros,” Buchet said.
Instead of selling only through distributors, Hutchinson now works directly with shops on larger initial orders, and relies on distributors for fill-ins. It has hired pro racer Rahsaan Bahati to handle West Coast sales and will have an East Coast rep in place by February, Buchet said. It also lowered MSRP on road tires by 25 percent and mountain bike tires by 10 percent to better compete.
“We want to get people riding the tires so we do a big effort this year. We want to make sure price is not a problem for them,” he said. Hutchinson has also revised its offering to include wider XC tires, fit more for North America, five 650B options and a new 240-gram road tubeless tire that is 6 percent faster than its pro tour tubulars.