Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is celebrating 10 years of the Roadmaster truck tire brand. Cooper had the Roadmmaster brand in its portfolio for many years, but ten years ago decided to phase out Cooper-brand truck tires and dedicate the Roadmaster brand to truck tires. Around the same time, the started to manufacture Roadmaster branded tires in China.
A decade ago, the company had two joint ventures in China, including Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Co. Ltd. in Rongcheng City, China. The Cooper Chengshan plant became sole captive truck tire capacity worldwide.
In 2010, Cooper launched its first SmartWay-verified Roadmaster tire, the RM180 long-haul steer tire and has since added five more SmartWay models. The SmartWay program is an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sets stringent standards for truck tires to be verified as tires having “low rolling resistance”. Using SmartWay certified tires can thus help reduce fuel consumption.
After starting with just four applications in 2007, currently, according to Gary Schroeder, director of Cooper’s truck and bus tire business, Cooper offers Roadmaster tires for almost every trucking application including long haul, regional, mixed service, pick-up and delivery and buses.
The supply of Roadmaster truck tires was briefly interrupted in late 2013-early 2014 when workers at the Cooper Chengshan factory stopped making Cooper- and/or Roadmaster-brand tires to protest against Cooper’s planned merger with India’s Apollo Tyres Ltd. After the merger failed, the two companies resolved the dispute and Cooper agreed to sell its stake in the joint venture company to its partner, Chengshan Group Co. Ltd. in early 2014.
Chengshan renamed the company as Prinx Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Co. and finalized an agreement with Cooper to supply truck tires through mid-2018.In 2014, Cooper revamped the Roadmaster branding, with an “engineered by Cooper Tires” tagline and a stylized capital R logo.
In early 2016, Cooper finalized a deal to buy a 65-percent stake in China’s Qingdao Ge Rui Da Rubber Co. Ltd. and disclosed that the company would be using that factory in Pingdu, Qingdao Province for the production of its Roadmaster radial truck and bus tires. At its full capacity, the factory can make 2.5 million to 3 million radial truck tires annually.
Another great achievement for Roadmaster was in 2012 when trailer manufacturer Wabash National Corp. selected Roadmaster tires as an OE fitment for its 53-foot dry van trailers.
In 2015, Cooper introduced “Cooper Fleet Service Network” to provide 24/7 emergency roadside tire replacement and repair for eligible commercial trucking fleets enrolled in Roadmaster’s national account program.
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