Even though Giti Tire's first U.S. plant isn't scheduled to open until this year, the Singapore tire maker has snagged its first North American original equipment contract, thanks to Volkswagen.
Giti's production has been limited to China and Indonesia, where output from eight factories make it the world's No. 11 tire maker, the company estimates.
Giti's Richburg, S.C., plant will launch the company into the U.S. original equipment tire business.
Sourcing decisions for the 2019 VW Passat came after Giti's decision to build the U.S. plant, which began construction in 2015, said John Aben, senior vice president of OE and consumer sales for North America at Giti Tire USA, in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Volkswagen produces the Passat in Chattanooga — another convenience for Giti, given that the supplier's new factory is about a six-hour drive southeast of VW's Tennessee plant.
But manufacturing timing and logistics go only so far, Aben told Automotive News.
Aben said Giti spent two years negotiating with Volkswagen, a process that included factory visits, audits and test tires shipped to VW engineers. He said the talks focused on Giti's technical attributes.
Despite being a newcomer to the U.S. original equipment tire market, Aben said, Giti is established elsewhere.
"We have OE fitments in China," he said. "It's well over 200 OE fitments with quality manufacturers over there. It made it a little bit easier for us to penetrate the market here knowing that we're OE in other countries."