Fifteen52 Q&A: The Traverse MX and more
By: Discount Tire
Established for enthusiasts by enthusiasts, Fifteen52 build the wheels they (and an increasing amount of enthusiasts) actually want to drive on.
To give you more insight into this exciting brand and the exclusive new wheel they make for Discount Tire, we sat down with Fifteen52 creative director Andrew Ritter and account executive Joel Hernandez.
Q: What has been the general driver response to the new Traverse MX wheel?
Joel: Specifically with the Traverse MX, there’s been an open communication where people say, ‘Oh that would look great on that vehicle’ or ‘I really like the look of it on this vehicle.’
In my experience, everyone seems to really like the design. So far, whatever we put it on, people have given us pretty positive feedback. I think it really does transform the vehicle.
Q: What are the goals that you have with the Traverse MX?
Andrew: From a visual standpoint, the Traverse HD and Traverse MX both came as follow-ups to the Turbomac HD. That was our first step into the off-road market.
The Traverse MX and Traverse HD were our first foray into our own approach to this off-road design. The vents on the outside circumference were our take as a replacement for the bead lock. It’s our own design language that really represents us as a brand.
From there, we’re just really happy to see the Traverse being received so well. It seems to be being received with a lot of positivity.
Joel: I did want to touch on the color of the Traverse MX. We produce it in Frosted Graphite and Magnesium Grey, but Discount Tire has an exclusive color in the Asphalt Black.
Andrew: That’s something really special about this relationship. In talking with the guys from Discount, they expressed a desire for the black option, so we offered the Asphalt Black that our brand is known for.
The other color you guys are offering is a nice magnesium grey. It works really well in the CUV market because it accents perfectly with the plastic cladding often added to those vehicles.
I think the offerings from Discount Tire are a fantastic color combination to really drive home that off-road look.
Q: Were you specifically targeting the overlanding/soft-roading enthusiast community?
Andrew: That was partially the intent. It came about first as a truck wheel in a lower offset known as the Traverse HD. Then Volkswagen reached out for a sample set of wheels for a concept vehicle they were working on.
We approached that by taking a low offset wheel and raising the offset to meet their needs. It was a great opportunity to meet those needs where you see more CUVs going off road.
Q: Were you getting requests for specific fitments in other Fifteen52 wheels?
Andrew: I think as soon as we had the low offset truck stuff for some of the 4-wheel drive vehicles, inevitably we were getting high offset requests for CUVs.
Q: Do you take positive feedback on products like the Traverse MX and use it to develop other products?
Joel: It’s certainly something we take into consideration. We’ve got a tally running for when people request certain fitments. We watch running trends and see if there is enough demand for different fitments.
Andrew: A great example is the Turbomac HD Classic. We saw such a large demand for a new application that we decided to launch that new fitment. That’s the same with the Traverse MX as well.
Q: How did the collaboration with Discount Tire on the exclusive Traverse MX occur?
Joel: We had already been working with Discount Tire for some time, actually. It was truly the core enthusiast group at Discount that built the formal relationship with the Traverse MX in mind.
We launched the Traverse MX as a Fifteen52 design with the 5x112 and 5x114 fitments. Then, Chris at Discount Tire mentioned that they were seeing a lot of demand for the 5x100 fitment and suggested that we build the Traverse MX in that fitment.
It then turned out that Discount Tire used all the 5x100 fitment wheels we built. So we did our best to build awareness around the fact that we build this wheel in a 5x100 fitment, and now it’s available exclusively at Discount Tire.
Collaboratively, everybody worked really well together, allowing us to pair enthusiasts with the data to be able to meet that demand.
So far, it’s done really well. We’re seeing that people are very proud to have these wheels installed.
Q: How do you do a launch when it’s not a new wheel but is available to a new vehicle community?
Joel: It really comes down to reaching out to that community and working with them. We really like to work local.
Q: Are forums still an important part of reaching enthusiasts?
Joel: Certainly! At the beginning of this brand, it was such a massive part of the industry. Something special about Fifteen52 is that it was started by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. I think that’s why we’re so in touch with customers. A lot of that spawns from the forums.
Q: Have you found that enthusiasts are going elsewhere for their content?
Joel: In some ways, I think that’s where Instagram came in. A lot of people are regularly updating their builds on Instagram and that makes it so easy to go on there and see what is going on, to see what so-and-so is doing in, say, the Subaru world.
Q: Can you describe the working relationship with Discount Tire?
Andrew: From the marketing side, it’s exciting to have a company as large as Discount Tire to pay so much attention to enthusiasts. Sometimes the enthusiast market gets looked over. So to have a brand that understands how important it is and wants to work alongside the enthusiast brands, to me that’s such a great opportunity and something I really respect.
Joel: I agree one hundred percent. Just as on the marketing side of things, the operational side has been very receptive to us as a business.
We work on our end to provide fluidity and to work with Discount Tire on a store-by-store basis to make sure they have the physical inventory on hand. With a footprint that spans more than 1000 stores, that can be demanding, but we’ve been able to fulfill any of their needs to make sure that the Fifteen52 wheels can be distributed to the stores that need them.
Q: What does the future hold for Fifteen52?
Andrew: We have a lot of great new colors coming and that’s what I’m most excited about. Our engineer and I have been bouncing ideas back and forth and checking samples, so a bunch of new colors are coming in the next few months.
Joel: I’m also excited about those new finishes, and we’re working on new designs as well. I’m also really excited to see how much success we can generate with our partnership with Discount Tire.