The past few months have been quite the roller coaster for the local tyre industry. This is largely influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic which has brought with it a series of unprecedented challenges, as well as surprises for Stamford Tyres (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (STM), official importer and distributors of the Falken tyres brand.
“We never anticipated that the market will consume heavily in the current recovery phase. Car sales – both new and used – are increasing, thus creating a growing demand for tyres that we also didn’t initially anticipated,” said Conson Sia, STM’s CEO.
The biggest challenge here, according to Conson, is the selective consumer mindset of wanting ‘fresh stock’ of tyres. Compounding this further is supply shortage driven not only by the pandemic, but also by legislation changes in Falken’s key markets like North America.
Nevertheless, things are in motion to resolve this. “For this situation, Falken has provided new planning arrangement with its production whereby it will still easily catch up in providing products that don’t directly conflict with sizes for markets like North America,” he explained.
Given the greater demand for smaller tyre sizes in our sunny side of the world, there’s not much to worry as far as stock availability goes with the Falken brand. On this note, Conson was also keen to share what’s been leading the charge for Falken in the local Malaysian tyre market as well.
“Right now, Falken’s flagship Azenis FK510 UHP (Ultra High Performance) tyres series stands as a best-seller. Fortunately, we’re also happy to see our recently introduced Wildpeak A/T3W 4x4 tyres have a high acceptance rate too,” replied Conson when questioned about Falken’s best sellers in Malaysia.
All-terrain Wildpeak A/T3W tyres
Falken Azenis FK510 UHP tyres
“The A/T3W’s unique offer of wide size range, attractive sidewall design and high-tech engineering is driving its success here, especially amongst non-urban consumers with light-duty trucks in plantation areas,” adds Conson regarding what drives said 4x4 tyre offering’s successful local market penetration.
Collectively, the other key factor driving the popularity of both the Wildpeak A/T3W and Azenis FK510 (pictured, left or above if you're viewing on mobile) products lie in Falken’s own global effort at becoming a trusted original equipment (OE) supplier. This is most apparent with Falken’s partnership with key carmakers in both the North American and European markets.
In explaining the gravity of said move, Conson continued by adding that “the moment you go down the OE path, the technologies involved to manufacture, as well as the market entry requirements, are both higher and stricter. The result of this benefits all of Falken’s products range as a whole.”
Given how the Azenis FK510 fared in our hands during its pre-launch test drive, it’s pretty self-explanatory as to how Falken’s own motto of ‘On The Pulse’ rings true. The fact that the brand even goes as far as adapting its tyres for our local market through factory-qualifying process is yet another key factor according to Conson.
With present matters addressed, our conversation soon led to the future and, given Conson’s coy hints, STM looks set to introduce yet another exciting new offering in the Falken range soon enough. “Think of it as the Azenis FK510’s younger brother of sorts,” was all Conson left us with, plus the confirmation of its focus for crossovers.
It’s safe to say that the Falken brand, under the local stewardship of STM, will be one to look out for in Malaysia come 2021.