Kal Tire was started by Tom Foord in 1953 in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, primarily providing tyres and service to the local logging industry. Tom's fundamental belief was that the supply of top quality products at a fair price, backed by superior service, would produce customer satisfaction.
The retail/commercial business has grown consistently over the last 56 years with operations across Canada and today has 164 company owned branches, 49 independent associate dealers, 10 truck retread plants, 2 OTR retread plants and 4 distribution warehouses providing car, truck, industrial and small earthmover tyres.
Kal entered the mining tyre industry as Copper Tyre in 1968 and opened a small OTR retread plant servicing the gold, silver and copper mines in the interior of British Columbia. During the 1980s this business grew on the back of service contracts in the coal mining industry and by the end of the decade it was formed in to the Mining Tyre Group (MTG) within Kal Tire.
The 1990s saw further acquisitions that led to a presence in the oil sand mining market in Alberta. Mining oil sands involves digging and processing sand that is covered in oil, which is then processed to produce synthetic crude oil that is then used in all oil based applications.
The oil sands reserves in Canada are thought to be the second largest reserves of oil in the world behind that of Saudi Arabia. Today, these operations have the largest fleet of 400t dump trucks in the world, all serviced by Kal Tire engineers in winter temperatures of -40°C. There are single customers in this region that spend more on tyres than the whole of the UK earthmover tyre market.
In the mid 1990s MTG was asked to start operations in Chile to support customers who knew Kal from Canada. This has led to further growth in the region and Kal now has operations in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. A partnership in 2002 with J & M Tyre in Oshawa, Ontario added an OTR retread plant and expanded the group's reach into eastern Canada and the United States. In 2007 a further acquisition saw the start of a partnership with Grimaldi in Mexico that has given a Central American presence with operations in Mexico, Colombia and Panama.
Today, the Kal Tire Group has a turnover in excess of CAD$1 billion, employs over 3,000 people and is the largest commercial tyre dealer in North America. The Mining Tyre Group has grown to employ over 800 people today with operations throughout the Americas. The investment in OTR represents the opportunity to further build on these strengths and create a global company.