From the mountainous kingdom of Swaziland right up to Kenya on the east coast, from the sands of Namibia up to war-shredded DRC and Congo on the west, with all the stretches of savannah and skyscrapers in between, and even including a hop to the honeymoon islands of Madagascar, Reunion, Mauritius and Comores … Goodyear tyres are rolling across sub-Saharan Africa.
Goodyear’s footprint is the most comprehensive of all tyre manufacturers on the continent. It covers countries and cultures so diverse – and some so volatile – that each requires focused attention in order to satisfy product requirements and nurture the market. For this reason, Goodyear has strategically grouped its sub-Saharan customers into clusters, based mostly on their proximity to one another, managed by a dedicated team and led by a Cluster Director.
CENTRAL AFRICA CLUSTER: ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE, MALAWI & DRC
Zambia,Zimbabwe,Malawiand the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are the four countries grouped together into Goodyear’s Central Africa Cluster. The team is led by Rassie van Zyl and includes area sales managers, finance managers, a Human Resources Manager and a Cluster Demand Planner. The cluster’s head office and the hub of this region is inLusaka,Zambia.
“Of the four countries,Zambiais the most developed and economically strongest, with the biggest growth. From our warehouse facility inLusaka, we distribute into all the surrounding countries. We also have a retreading facility inLusaka, which is capable of remoulding OTR (off-the-road)/Earth Mover tyres for underground mining,” Van Zyl explained.
“Zambiastill has a big mining industry, with particularly large copper mines in the north. All the copper is exported by road, which created a large commercial/truck market. Added to this, the southern DRC’s requirements are all imported by road throughZambia, so the truck corridors are very busy and unfortunately some roads are very poor.
“Over time, however, the consumer and commercial markets have developed beyond that of the mining industry, and today the Zambian market consumes approximately 50 000 passenger tyres and 5 000 truck tyres per month. The country is strategically divided into north and south, and Goodyear has an area sales manager servicing both areas.”
BRANDBUILDINGWITH INDEPENDENT RETAILERS
Goodyear’s Zambian retail branches are in Mazabuka,Lusaka,Ndola,Kitweand Solwezi. According to Rassie, their consumer products are distributed through more than 30 independent retailers countrywide.
“Originally Trentyre Zambia’s strength was in the mining industry. Indeed, Goodyear was represented through Trentyre retail outlets inZambia,ZimbabweandMalawifor a number of years. However, Goodyear’s future strategy is brand orientated and our aim is to become a household brand name throughout the cluster. We want to have a healthy share in consumer, commercial, farm and OTR business, and therefore we now advertise and market the Goodyear brand through a number of independent dealers.”
CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
- MALAWIis managed by one area sales manager. Goodyear currently wholesales mostly consumer tyres inMalawi. “The country has recently gone through a political change and there are high expectations for economic improvement soon.”
- ZIMBABWEis “going through difficult economic challenges because of the current political situation. We have seven Trentyre retail outlets inZimbabwe.”
- DRC offers “the biggest growth opportunity in the cluster. There is increased interest from locals in a number of areas in this large country to develop a peaceful and economically sustainable future. Goodyear has identified well-established and legitimate retailers in the southern region who will be distributing our product. We also have healthy relationships with a number of mining companies in the DRC.”