Retreading remains best bet
By David Stevens
Managing Director, TRIB
One aspect of my role as the Managing Director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) that I really enjoy is some of the conversations I have with attendees at the various trade shows at which we exhibit or conferences where I speak. The skeptical attendee comes up to me with their well-worn and completely inaccurate myths about retreaded tyres.
Patiently, I walk them through the technologically-advanced retread process, explain the compelling cost savings they can achieve, demonstrate the huge environmental impact retreading has on our planet, and explain how the safety and reliability of retreaded tyres matches that of new tyres. Then that moment happens that I enjoy so much… the recognition that they’ve had it all wrong about retreaded tyres.
The questions then start to fly: “Why didn’t I know about this before? Where can I find a dealer close to me? Can I tour a retread plant to see the operation first-hand?” These interactions are one of the many reasons that I feel confident about the strength and continued growth of the global retreading industry.
If we look at the United States, retreaded commercial truck tyres still represent about half of the replacement market and production of retreaded tyres grew slightly last year to 14.9 million units. The cost savings for retreaded tyres compared to new tyres remains a strong selling point for customers, but there will continue to be downward pricing pressure put on the market by imports, which could start to impact retread margins. Our member companies in the US are looking to improve margins by investing in more efficient technology, increasing their focus on hiring, training, and keeping quality employees, and looking for expansion in other market segments. There is a degree of uncertainty in the areas of government regulation and taxation for the retread industry. These areas have been relatively stable for awhile now and there is cautious optimism this will continue.
(Full text in PTA October/November issue)