Titan International, Inc., a global manufacturer of wheels and tires based in Quincy, Illinois, is thinking big in its plans to enter a new phase in its 100-year history by introducing the Grizz LSW low sidewall tire & wheel assembly to the agricultural and construction industries.
The announcement comes at a pivotal moment, as industry leaders recognize the beginning of a new era in the construction and agricultural markets. Booming construction has hit an all-time high causing demand to soar for industry-related components such as the heavy-duty earthmoving and skid steer tires manufactured by Titan. In the agricultural market, corporate farming is quickly replacing small family-owned farms and ag managers are demanding bigger, more stable equipment to meet their needs. For Titan, these shifts in demand could easily boost profits as the company sets course into the new millineum.
Can Titan meet the challenge? Consider this: Between Titan’s two subsidiaries they hold the title of world’s largest manufacturer of the off-highway wheels and they are ranked third among North American off-highway tire manufacturers. In the past year, the company has invested over $100 million in new tooling specifically to produce its patented Grizz LSW design. The company whose specialty lies in ag and construction tires also profits from its other product lines for lawn and garden, all-terrain vehicle, military, and highway trailer applications. In addition, the company’s sales of $660 million in 1998 soared to almost $ 800 million in 1999 and are expected to leap past the billion dollar mark in 2000. By all accounts, Titan is aiming to conquer — and is well positioned to reach their goal of being the leading manufacturer of off-highway wheels and tires.
The Grizz LSW Wheel and Tire Assembly
Ray Evans, Titan’s vice president of engineering, has guided the Grizz LSW project from the company’s research and development center in Akron, Ohio. “We want to take the low side wall concept, expand on it, and extend it into construction and agricultural markets,” explains Evans. Benefits such as better handling, longer wear, run-flat capability, and increased stability have impressed consumers of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi passenger cars, which have been using low side wall tires for years. The same technology will soon revolutionize the off-highway tire market with Grizz LSW assemblies designed to effectively reduce vehicle bounce and powerhop in tractors, backhoes, and skid steers.
The same factor that sets Titan apart from its competition – its ability to produce both wheels and tires – is the key to the success of the Grizz LSW. Titan’s Grizz LSW not only features a low side wall tire (LSW means low side wall), it also accommodates a larger diameter wheel. This combination reduces hop, loping, and sidewall heat build-up while providing more stability and safety for the operator, which in turn means greater productivity.
In a fast-paced world where time is money, the Grizz LSW is expected to impact the bottom line on job sites and farm operations. “Machines are asked to do more and more, “ Evans says. “ We have to come up with designs that last longer and minimize down time.”
Titan: Success Through Diversity
Titan’s empire includes five wheel plants in the United States, and five in Europe. They own four tire plants in North America and one in South America. Their distribution network includes twelve facilities across the nation. Titan also has a net- work of hundreds of independent tire dealers that service the aftermarket in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
In addition to its core business of wheels and tires, Titan also builds actuators, brake assemblies, and rims. According to Phil Stanhope, Titan’s director of communications, the company’s real mission is to help their customers solve problems. “Titan goes beyond manufacturing. Anyone can make a wheel or a tire. Our expertise is in adding value to our products through constant innovation and delivering what our customers want — a complete wheel/ tire assembly.” For the future, he adds, “we’ll stay focused on off-highway and specialty applications. We plan to revolutionize the LSW market – we’re better suited to this than anyone else.”