Company keeps up with evolving market
Much has changed in the ATV market since ITP was founded in 1982. Back then, three-wheel ATVs were legal to manufacture, high-performance knobby tires were just being developed, and a tire and wheel kit was unheard of. Now the company is focusing on growing the struggling ATV industry and discovering sales in the side-by-side segment.
ITP’s beginnings were humble. The company entered the industry with one product — the T-9 spun aluminum wheel — but the Armstrong Turf Tamer, the market’s first true high-performance knobby tire, according to the company, soon followed.
After selling the Armstrong line to a competitor in 1985, ITP became a private-label brand of Carlisle Tire and Wheel Company. Carlisle later acquired ITP in 1998, moving the brand from private label to manufacturer-direct. Since then, ITP has moved a few times, and it’s now housed in a 200,000-square-foot building in Ontario, Calif.
ITP is proud of its innovations that have been developed over the years, as the company has responded to customers’ needs and the ever-changing industry. The company created the first ATV tire and wheel kit after displaying a set of its Blackwaters on a pair of chrome wheels at Dealer Expo in 1993. The display was meant only as an attention-getter, but after receiving a warm reception, ITP created the Bigfoot Kit, which featured Blackwater tires mounted on a variety of Delta steel wheels.
Today, ITP’s tire and wheel kits continue to be best sellers, as a recent ADP Lightspeed study for Powersports Business found dealers in Tennessee sold nearly $60,000 in ITP’s 12X26-inch Swamplite kit in 2011. In fact, five tire and wheel kits, most of which were ITP branded, were among the top three aftermarket parts in seven dollar ranges in terms of dealer sales volume in the ADP Lightspeed study.
“It’s no surprise to ITP that ITP products, specifically tire wheel kits, were best sellers for our dealer partners in 2011. ITP was the original creator/provider of tire/wheel kits to the powersports aftermarket when we introduced the Bigfoot kit several years ago,” said Rhett Turpin, director of sales and marketing-powersports for Carlisle Tire and Wheel Company.
Turpin said ITP uses innovation, technology and performance to bring high-quality ATV and side-by-side products to its dealers and its customers.
“We pride ourselves in researching and participating in the sport to ensure that we provide innovative, performance-oriented products utilizing the latest available technologies,” he added.
The company also works closely with its distributors to make sure they’re stocked, so dealers can easily order ITP tires and wheels.
“Tire sales play a very important part in revenue for ATV dealers. Not only are they a replacement part, they are often one of the first performance upgrades a consumer will make to his or her ATV [or side-by-side],” Turpin explained.
While some customers seek traditional ATV tires, others prefer to buy radial tires of larger sizes and a heavier plies. ITP’s most popular ATV tires include the Mud Lite, Mud Lite XTR, Baja Cross and Terra Cross, as well as the the new Mayhem and Blackwater Evolution lines.
As the side-by-side market grows, the tires with heavy plies that can handle additional weight and increased diameters to add ground clearance are becoming more popular.
“In recent years [side-by-side] tire sales had been and will continue to be a very important focus for ITP as evidenced by our recent introduction of the Blackwater Evolution,” Turpin explained.
Wheels that can handle heavier loads usually carried by side-by-sides are also leading sales, with the SS212 and SS312 lines, as well as the new SS216 and SS316 lines, drawing customers.
With a solid lineup of tires and wheels, ITP is proud to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, and Turpin says the company has plans to “continue to pave the future.”
“Not too many companies have the bragging rights in today’s economy to say that they have been in operation for 30 years,” he said. “It is very humbling to know that our customers have enabled us to remain as the world’s No. 1 aftermarket ATV tire and wheel source for 30 years. We would not be here without our valued customers.”