- Sponsoring contract with German top Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg
- Decision for first R&D center in Europe to be set-up in Germany
- Production site in Europe planned
- Sales initiative reaching for 1 million units sold annually
- Total Investment in Europe of 50 million Euro within the next 3 years
Wolfsburg, December 15, 2014. In a decisive move to enter the European tire markets, one of the largest tire manufacturers of China announced an extensive market initiative for Germany. The strategic move of Linglong Tire includes an exclusive sponsoring partnership with top Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg and several decisions for technical and marketing investments.
The partnership with VfL Wolfsburg in the headquarter city of car manufacturer Volkswagen Group AG, is a strong cooperation in brand image transfer. Stretching over three years at first, the contract agreement guarantees Linglong first class exposure in the German top soccer league with millions of enthusiastic fans. “We are proud to team up with a winning team from the league of the World Champions and thus want to show our commitment to Germany”, says Feng WANG, CEO of Linglong Tire. The agreement aims at substantially increasing brand awareness and attractiveness with Germany and the German automotive community.
The German market initiative also includes the decision to build a state-of-the art tire research and development center. The set-up is planned for early 2015 and will be finished by end of 2016. Linglong is traditionally focused on premium tires and has invested substantially into technological innovation, also based on strong partnerships with renowned suppliers. Linglong products meet even ambitious global tire standards of the European Tire Labelling easily and are widely accepted for their good characteristics with wet grip, noise emission and eco-relevant rolling resistance. The products are also compared in renowned media tire tests with good comments. Today the company holds more than 400 tire related patents. Linglong is currently also pushing forward plans for a first production site in Europe. Further details about this major investment will be disclosed as soon as the location decision has been met. In parallel, the company will build the state-of-the-art Sino-Asia Tire Proving Ground together with partner organization IDIADA, a leading test track design institution. The test ground will ensure Linglong to keep the leading-edge in premium tire research & development for the international car markets as well as the fast growing Chinese home market. The facility will be located at Zhaoyuan, 20 kilometers away from the headquarters of Linglong Tire, and cover an area of 1.6 million square meters. It will have testing laboratories and track specifications that meet world-scale requirements and is planned to be completed by the end of 2016.
After three years Linglong Tire wants to sell 1 million units each year in Germany. In order to reach this target the company plans to engage in partnerships with leading German tire outlet chains. Total investment in Europe will be 50 million Euros within the next three years.
Founded in 1987 in Zhaoyuan City in Shandong Province, China, as a small local tire producer, Linglong is now among the top 20 tire manufacturers in the world. Linglong Tire ranks number three in China and one of the largest Chinese manufacturers in terms of overseas sales (54% of production is sold overseas). Over 8.000 employees today produce more than 10.000 different specifications of high performance tires for cars, light trucks, heavy trucks, and buses. Turnover in 2013 reached 1.52 billion Euros (or USD 1.88 billion). Linglong targets to belong to the ten largest manufacturers by 2020. A long list of key car manufacturers already trust in its products, including global automakers such as GM, Ford, Renault-Nissan,Hyundai, and Tata, as well as more than 50 Chinese automakers such as First Automotive Works, Dongfeng, BAIC Group, Chery, and Geely. And this list is constantly growing.
The new generation Linglong tires are positioned as smart premium products. They are acknowledged to offer very good characteristics with wet grip, safety, comfort and noise emission. Since 2010 Linglong Tire has invested heavily especially into the fuel efficiency of its products. Its tires compete well regarding to their rolling resistance and thus can rightfully be called “green tires” that are favorable for the environment while helping to save the end-consumer’s money. Linglong established the first tire test laboratory for rolling resistance and noise emission in China. The company relies on a network of high quality suppliers in Germany in different areas. For example LANXESS AG, the leading producer of high-tech synthetic rubber solutions in the world, is providing Linglong with state-of-the-art rubber technology. Furthermore, Linglong works closely with the Cologne-based consultancy globeone as its strategic marketing partner.
In response to the EU Tire Labeling requirements most Linglong products are already reaching advanced performance levels from ‘C’ up to ‘A’. In the American market, already 58 of its products passed the strict certification of American SmartWay. In the AutoBILD Summer Tire Test 2014 the Linglong ‘Atlas’ tire finished seventh place, being the only Chinese tire in the top 10 – and came out as the quietest tire of all. ADAC Motorwelt ranked a Linglong ‘Infinity’ tire as Nr. 13 and as one of the best tiers on snow.