When the rubber meets the road, drivers want tires that they can rely on. They often turn to Pirelli Tire, which has earned a reputation for quality, high performance products, John Godfrey says. “It’s a very-well-respected brand globally,” he states.

Godfrey is the vice president of logistics for Pirelli Tire North America in Rome, Ga., which serves as the NAFTA region arm of its Milan, Italy-based parent. After more than 140 years in the industry, Pirelli Tire stands as the fifth-largest tire producer in its market, with a range of products for cars, trucks and motorsports.

Read more: Pirelli’s Plan

It would have been easy to stand pat with the Ford F-150. The truck has been the best-selling vehicle in America for more than 30 years thanks to its reputation for reliability and durability. But the Ford Motor Co. takes pride in being a leader in the automotive industry and was not content with a merely tweaked version of its iconic truck for its annual release. Nearly a year after the launch of the 2015 F-150, the industry’s first pickup with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body is making good on the company’s innovative spirit.

The switch to a lightweight aluminum body signals a new direction for Ford trucks – and perhaps the industry as a whole. However, Ford Truck Group Marketing Manager Doug Scott says the decision was fueled by customers who each year demand more productivity out of the F-Series vehicles. “That’s how you get to be the best-selling truck for 38 years consecutively,” Scott says. “You play offense. You anticipate what the customer wants and you lead.”

Read more: Aluminum Strength

After more than three decades, Explorer Van Inc. has become completely self-reliant at its headquarters in Warsaw, Ind. “We do almost everything in-house,” owner Steve Kesler says. “We build our own furniture, we have our own metal shop and we make our own plastic. Everything we do, we do from here.”

The company, which started operations in 1980, specializes in converting custom luxury vans from Chevrolet, GMC and Ford vehicles. Before co-founding Explorer Van, Kesler worked as a driver for Coachman Industries when he was not teaching school, an experience that allowed him to gain some insight into the market.

“I delivered vans and motor homes for Coachman for a couple years and got to slowly know a van dealer in St. Louis,” he recalls. “He was not happy with the performance of Coachman with their van conversions and suggested I ought to make one.”

Read more: Drive Success

For the past 50 years, Wheeler Bros. Inc. has specialized in the design and distribution of fleet vehicle maintenance and defense components. The company’s dedication to continue innovating vehicle solutions has resulted in winning its seventh consecutive award and new projects for its customer – the United States Postal Service.

“Our Wheeler Bros. Inc. subsidiary continues to exceed our expectations,” says Maurice Gauthier, CEO of Wheeler Bros. parent company VSE Corp. “Wheeler Bros.’ supply chain services to both traditional and commercial markets, which has encouraged us to focus on this part of our business while we continue to better position ourselves through our recent consolidation efforts to defend our traditional market base.”

Read more: Wheeler Bros. Inc.

Not many people can say they enjoy the daily challenges in their business, but International Fleet Sales (IFS) President and owner Mike Libasci can. “That’s why I like it,” he asserts. “It is kind of fun.

“We’re dealing with different cultures and different ways of doing business,” he says. “It’s been a challenge to work a deal with these different folks, secure it and make a profit out of it.”

Based in San Leandro, Calif., IFS is an export distributor of U.S. origin General Motors vehicles. Libasci founded the company in 1999 after a long career in the auto industry. Initially, he worked as a car salesman in California and later was hired at a General Motors retail truck center in Oakland, Calif.

Read more: International Fleet Sales

Seattle Automotive Distributing Inc. has reinvented itself many times over its more than 30-year history and is at it again after ACDelco made it impossible for the company to sell General Motors dealers their daily stock orders. “We have to reinvent ourselves every three to six years to react to our rapidly changing marketplace,” President Paul TeGantvoort says.

GM dealers have been a major part of the Seattle, Wash.-based company since TeGantvoort founded the business in 1983. The GM stock order business created the critical mass that enabled Seattle Automotive Distributing to maintain a huge inventory of ACDelco parts on hand, which gave it a big head start over everyone else in the parts business with the ability to be first-to-market on a wide variety of parts for late model GM vehicles.

Read more: Seattle Automotive Distributing Inc.

One of the world’s most recognizable luxury sports car brands is not content to rest on its decades-long reputation for quality and performance. Instead, Porsche seeks to grow its market share in North America by introducing new vehicle models, building new facilities and making investments in new technology.

“I’m extremely proud of our product and where we rate in quality and appeal,” said a spokesman for vehicle logistics and port operations for Porsche Cars North America Inc. (PCNA), the brand’s exclusive importer of sports cars and sport utility vehicles to the United States. “We have a strong heritage in our company and a customer base that is extremely passionate about the brand, and I’m very proud of where the company is going.”

Read more: Porsche Cars North America Inc.

Massachusetts-based Hi-Gear Products and US Pack have a unique story. Founded more than 25 years ago by Russian newcomers to America, Hi-Gear has become a global leader in the automotive aftermarket industry, producing and distributing superior chemical products to customers around the world. 

After more than a decade of successful brand development and worldwide distribution, the company founders made a strategic decision to bring manufacturing capabilities under the same roof. Through this enterprise, US Pack was born. 

Read more: Hi-Gear Products and US Pack

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