Blackhawk & OK Tire: A Winning Formula

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Blackhawk Tires are available through OK Tire locations across Canada. Credit: Jack Kazmierski

Value oriented-brand and an established distribution network offer a strong recipe for success.

Affordability, practicality and reliability are three terms that many consumers seek in the products they choose to buy. When it comes to vehicles, and specifically tires, these qualities are often amplified, given not only the cost related to a new set of rubber, but also the performance and safety aspects, since tires are the only part of the vehicle that’s actually connected to the road surface.

While some long-established tire brands in the Canadian marketplace have their loyal fans and many have adapted to market trends which have seen a move toward higher performance and higher price points, there remains a significant segment of the population that are looking to balance affordability without sacrificing quality or capability.

Performance and value are key attributes of the Blackhawk brand. Credit: Sailun Tire Americas
Performance and value are key attributes of the Blackhawk brand. Credit: Sailun Tire Americas


Strength, agility and grip

That’s where brands like Blackhawk come in. According to Jamie McIntyre, Vice President, Sales, Canada, Sailun Tires Americas (Blackhawk’s parent company), the Blackhawk brand references the qualities of strength, agility, speed and razor-sharp grip found in its namesake—the infamous bird of prey.

“The full lineup of Blackhawk tire products are designed to symbolize the same adaptive attributes and confident characteristics as the fearless Blackhawk bird,” explains McIntyre, “in order to deliver inspiring performance for cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs.”

In Canada, the Blackhawk brand has a clear strategy—targeting specific consumer segments in order to build a strong presence in the marketplace. According to McIntyre, this includes budget-conscious consumers and everyday commuters, as well as fleet and commercial operators.

He notes that the Blackhawk brand and product portfolio are evolving “through several key strategies and innovations.” These include expanding the product range, as well as technological advancements in manufacturing facilities, plus quality assurance, along with driving affordability and value.

Jamie McIntyre, Vice President, Sales, Canada, Sailun Tire Americas. Credit: Jamie McIntyre.

Robust network

Additionally, another factor that’s seen as key in successfully establishing the Blackhawk brand in the Canadian marketplace is having a robust distribution network across the country, and for Blackhawk, Sailun Tire Americas has chosen to partner with OK Tire.

Founded in 1953, OK Tire currently has 320 locations across Canada and has long been an established staple brand in the marketplace.

“Tapping into [OK Tire’s] vast distribution network allows us to make sure that Canadians everywhere have access to Blackhawk’s range of quality tires at fair prices,” explains McIntyre.

Tony Sandhu, President & CEO, OK Tire, says that the partnership with Blackhawk enables the network to work closely with Sailun Tire Americas on developing “innovative products that best serve the needs of our customers.”

Tony Sandhu, President & CEO, OK Tire. Source: OK Tire

Multitude of segments

OK Tire’s 320 stores across Canada are backed by chain of distribution centres, allowing the network to bring in a whole range of Blackhawk tires covering a multitude of segments, including PLT, light trucks and commercial vehicles.

Alongside wide availability to consumers and businesses through OK Tire locations across the country, the value proposition is a key brand strategy for Blackhawk in Canada. “Our goal is always to make the best tires in market that offer the same performance attributes as those made by leading manufacturers but at an affordable price point,” states Sailun’s Jamie McIntyre.

And the time arguably, could not be more optimal for expanding the brand. “As consumers become more budget-conscious due to economic pressures, Blackhawk can ease some of those concerns with the cost-effectiveness of our tires,” he says.

McIntyre notes that by staying attuned to consumer trends and preferences, “it allows us to adapt our strategies accordingly. For example, the increasing popularity of SUVs and light trucks in Canada prompted us to develop the all-new Blackhawk Agility SUV tire. This dedicated SUV tire is designed for drivers who demand more from their SUVs and is backed by an industry-leading 100,000 km/60-Month Limited Tread Life Warranty for added peace of mind.”

Shane Butner, Director of Marketing and Communications, OK Tire. Credit: OK Tire

Warranty and aftersales service

Besides the value-oriented price point and quality proposition, warranty and aftersales service is likely another key factor that will be pivotal in establishing the BLACKHAWK brand successfully in Canada.

As Tony Sandhu explains, BLACKHAWK offers competitive warranties for both its passenger/light truck and commercial tire lines. “This includes a two-year road hazard replacement program and tread life protection on selected PLT models,” he says.

Additionally, on the commercial side, Blackhawk offers a warranty that covers no-charge adjustments for defects within the initial tread depth, along with a pro-rated adjustment afterward. Furthermore, Blackhawk radial truck tires have a casing policy, covering defects through the first and second retreads—an important consideration for commercial vehicle and fleet customers.

Additionally, Sandhu says that OK Tire provides and ensures reliable aftersales support for Blackhawk PLT and Commercial customers, which not only adds further value but also “strengthens our partnership alliance.”

While it can be tough for new tire brands to break into a well-established and highly competitive market like Canada, Blackhawk’s wide product range, quality engineering and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, combined with a sturdy and well-known distribution network through OK Tire is seen as a winning formula—especially when it’s combined with an affordable, value-oriented price point.

CFL partnership

Further adding to this solid strategy is extensive brand visibility through the OK Tire and Blackhawk partnership, which, in conjunction with the Canadian Football League (CFL), has, since 2022, been supporting the development of youth football at the grassroots level across the nation.

This initiative, according to Shane Butner, Director of Marketing and Communications at OK Tire, “celebrates the unifying power of the sport in bringing communities together.”

Butner explains that the funds raised from this program allow provincial football organizations to grow female programs, enhance flag football, support minor football leagues for youth, and enhance the training and development of players, coaches, and officials in local communities nationwide. [https://www.oktire.com/touchdowns-for-communities/]

“With the support of our CFL player ambassadors, we are incredibly excited to continue developing the Touchdowns for Communities program and have a lot in store for the upcoming year,” states Butner.

When you add initiatives and visibility programs such as this to a tire brand that offers a strong value proposition, state of the art-engineering and quality, a wide-range of applications and a solid distribution network via OK Tire, it’s hard not to see a winning formula for long term success in the Canadian marketplace.

Categories : Commercial, Tires


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