Can you please give us some general information about your career so far and how you came to start SEAM TYRE?
SEAM TYRE was established in Taiwan in 2006. The factory originally manufactured only smaller sized tyres and now we have multiple factories spread across different locations to widen the product portfolio. The company now deals with the production of a full range of tyre. The size of the tyre produced ranges from 12 inches to 24 inches catering for Light Truck, PCR, Sand Tyre, and very soon we will be producing TBR too.
Where do you source the tyres from?
Our brand SEAM TYRE is produced in Taiwan and China by factories that are equipped with the state-of-the-art machinery and modern most advanced production technologies.
The Middle East is a market in which customers are very conscious about both price and quality. Why should customers in the Middle East prefer SEAM TYRE to other brands?
We endeavor to provide our customers with the highest level of assurance regarding the quality of the tyres.
Through our direct involvement in the Research & Development with the factory our patterns are designed with maximum fuel efficiency, traction, and minimum noise level in mind. To maintain the road safety each and every SEAM TYRE is tested prior to being shipped out of the factory. We offer 80,000km or One-year warranty for each SEAM TYRE that is delivered to the end-users. Above all is the quality products at a completive price.
In addition to the UAE, which other markets do you distribute SEAM TYRES?
Globally we have a presence in more than seventeen countries. In GCC we cover Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Iraq market. We have stablished distribution channels in East and west Europe too. SEAM TYRE has a strong presence in Asia, CIS, Africa and Russia too. We are looking for agents in new markets too.
Which are the most popular tyres for passenger cars that SEAM TYRE sells?
It varies geographically but in the Gulf our SUVs series, and our SAND tyres are really popular.
In addition to the sale of tyres, do you offer any other value-added vehicle related services?
Yes, in addition to our wholesale division we have established our one stop shop brand as Tire.ae. At Tire.ae we offer all vehicle related services such as Tyres, Batteries, Alignment, Mechanical work, Brake pads, Lubricant, plus full car detailing and ceramic coating etc. We further offer free tyre rotation & free alignment check for our customers.
Tell us more about your distribution network. What support do you extend to your distributors in terms of training and education?
There are currently around 400 retail outlets in the UAE that stock and sell SEAM TYRE. In terms of marketing support, we provide all kinds of support for marketing SEAM TYRE, such as signboards, promotional items, and work attire for their employees. We are very active on social media platforms with regard to promotions and contests. We have regular giveaways with attractive prizes as broadcasted on the ARN (Arabian Network Radio) channels.
What are some of the challenges that you face in this market?
Like every other business, one main challenge is timely receipt of payments from the local customers. The other challenge is ensuring that the supply chain delivery is smooth. As we are expanding our distribution network across the globe, we occasionally have to monitor the demand which exceed the production. Hence, we have to maintain our lead-time and to ensure that customers receive their orders on time.
What are your future plans for SEAM TYRE?
We are pursuing a path of continual growth. We want to explore new markets while continuing to offer the widest range of products and the best customer service in the markets we currently serve.
What do you think about the long-term and short-term outlook for the tire market in the UAE?
Based on current projections regarding the number of cars in the region and the outlook for the aftermarket, the outlook is quite bright in the short-term. It would not be wise on my part to make long-term predictions but the government in the UAE is quite supportive in terms of trade and the automotive industry in general and is highly visionary. Hence, the chances are quite good that the tire market will continue to do well in the long term as well.
The UAE is a regional hub for tyre trade in the Middle East, how important is this in term of export market for SEAM tyre?
The UAE serves as a key focal point for trade for the entire Middle East and Africa markets. If you have a presence in this market, you can easily extend your reach to the key countries in these markets. According to a recent report that I read, in 2018, the car sales figures in the Middle East crossed 21 million. The sale of new passenger cars sales reached 1.03 million units while sale of commercial vehicles reached 270,000 units last year. Those figures are highly impressive.
What do you think about the requirements for tyre labelling and RFID stickers in the UAE? Do you think this has helped to reduce the sale of poor quality tyre in the UAE market? Has it created any difficulties for retailers?
Obtaining the SASO and GSO certifications has been a major challenge for us. It is a very time consuming and expensive process. But I think, in the long-term this strictness about standards will be beneficial for customers as they can then be sure about the quality and safety of the tyres which they buy. Manufacturers who are serious about having a long-term presence in this market will not have any issues about complying with the standards and regulations. Those traders who are looking for quick profits by selling substandard products will not be able to last in the market.
Can you please tell us about Tire.ae and how it started?
Tire.ae was started with quality and time in mind. Tire.ae started to provide direct service to our local customers who are quality and time conscious when it comes to required services for their vehicle. We provide a full online shopping portal where our customers can communicate live with our sales team and book their service prior to coming to Tire.ae. This will minimize their waiting time in the center. Furthermore, we have fully equipped mobile units which can offer full roadside assistance, including tyres and batteries replacement at the customers’ door step.
Of course, the importance of e-commerce, especially in a market like the UAE cannot be underestimated. Here, shopping is all about convenience. You only have to see how popular apps and sites like Careem, Uber, souq, noon etc have become to understand how big e-commerce has become in this market. I read in a recent newspaper article that the UAE’s e-commerce market is estimated to be worth USD 27.1 billion by 2022. Customers just have to visit Tire.ae to choose and purchase the tyre that are most suitable for their vehicle and with our wide network of retail outlets, getting the tyre installed is fast and convenient.
Customer service is very important part of the tyre purchase process. How do you ensure that your customers benefit from the highest levels of customer service?
Every new customer is important to us and my focus is not just on acquiring customers but retaining them with the highest level of service possible.
What is the importance of the retail business from a tyre distributor’s perspective?
The retail business provides us with the opportunity of a direct contact with our customers and learn more about their requirements and preferences. We get their feedbacks on what they really expect from the products and services, their views on tradeoff between price and quality, and other desired characteristics that they look for. A direct feedback from the end-user is very helpful for us specialty when we add new tyre to our growing portfolio.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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