Dunlop, one of the world’s leading tyre brands, has made its mark in Lusaka, with four new retail outlets, one being our iconic Dunlop Zone, as well as 3 Dunlop Express stores - that were officially opened on Tuesday, 5 April 2016.
The brand has been relatively muted in its presence over the past few years, but this is set to change as it re-enters on a different scale of volume and back-up service,
through its iconic Dunlop retail branded outlets, known as Dunlop Zone and Dunlop Express stores. Auto & Tyre Worldwide Limited (ATWL), the authorised distributors of Dunlop tyres in Zambia,
have disclosed that the globally-renowned brand will meet the market demands for tyre products and through the new outlets, is well-positioned to satisfy consumer demand for high quality tyres and related services.
ATWL director of sales and marketing Brian Smith said Dunlop’s emergence onto the local market had been inspired by stagnant growth in the tyre services industry, making it an opportune moment to
reintroduce the brand through these stores. According to Smith, the initial focus has been Lusaka, with an existing store which is operational already and proven to be very successful. Over the next
two months, Dunlop Zone/ Express stores are scheduled to open in Kitwe; extend to Chipata and other strategically sought locations.
Dunlop’s parent company, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA) based in Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa with its production plant in Ladysmith, is confident that Zambia will prove to be a
significant success story. “The success of the South African Dunlop Zones and its reception by the local market over the years has been highly encouraging, and I am confident that a
similar pattern will follow in Zambia,” said SRSA CEO Riaz Haffejee.
SRSA is owned by Japanese listed company Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd (SRI), situated in Kobe, Japan, and is ranked the world’s sixth-largest producer of
automotive tyres and industrial rubber products and has tyre manufacturing plants in Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Turkey, USA and South Africa.
The existing South African plant in Ladysmith (founded in 1973) currently produces passenger car, sport utility vehicle and light truck tyres only, which are sold in South Africa and exported across Africa,
with Zambia having been identified as a lucrative portion of the African market.
Dunlop ceased production at their Ndola plant in Zambia in 1997, before ditching the local market in view of the poor economic environment during a period, which made the manufacturing industry less viable.
“The reason why we entered the Zambian market is we saw a gap to have a world-class model in Zambia where we had a good brand, which was well-accepted and nobody has taken that brand to the next level
with the support of a fine fitment centre model; that is really the driver behind,” Smith said in an interview in Lusaka.
“There are some key players in tyres in the market at the moment and we respect them, absolutely. However, they have stayed maybe, stagnant. Time has moved on and things have evolved;
on the tyre side, it has not evolved the same way and that is what made us really choose Zambia.”
He explained that the decision to reintroduce the Dunlop brand was also in response to a huge public outcry for superior tyre services.
“There has been a lot of crying to get Dunlop back into the market but nobody was really prepared to invest in the brand, to bring the brand name back to
where it was with the given quality of service. That is where we started late last year developing some fitment centres in various locations,” Smith added.
“We carry a large number of tyres in stock so the possibility that we will not have the tyre that you are looking for is very slim. The size line-up is quite
large but we have taken that upon us to order from Dunlop the widest range possible.”
Smith further disclosed that ATWL, who will act as the official distributors of Dunlop in Zambia, is opening up fitment centres at
strategic locations around the country. Brian Smith (Director Sales & Marketing) along with Sudhakkar Chitturu (Director Administration & New Projects) are enthusiastic about the Dunlop brand in Zambia
and will both be putting their best foot forward to ensure the Dunlop brand becomes iconic in Zambia and revered by all consumers.