Reinforcing the image of retreaded tyres
By TA News Bureau
KRAIBURG, the Austrian retread major, belonging to the KRAIBURG GROUP, has set the tone for the rubber industry with 14 production plants in 12 countries and employs more than 1,800 people worldwide. ‘Our objective is to offer premium retreads as a valid response to cheap Asian products flooding into the European market, Stefan Mayrhofer, Deputy Managing Director, says
“One of the fundamental aspects of KRAIBURG’s philosophy has always been our proximity to the market, the close relationship with our retreading partners, based on fairness and mutual respect, says Stefan Mayrhofer, Deputy Managing Director of the Austria-based global retread major. “To give priority to our customers, which means listening to their individual needs and helping them to resolve their problems, represents the principal basis of our success in the market – since more than 50 years already,” he told Tyre Asia while commenting on his vision for the company’s future.
Mayrhofer said: “Recognizing and responding to market needs in an early stadium is getting more and more important in a highly competitive market as ours and we will definitely intensify our activities even more in this field. Our objective is to offer premium retreads as a valid response to cheap Asian products, flooding into the European market. We see the future challenge in reinforcing the image of retreaded tyres trough quality combined with argumentative and persuasive efforts from our side. One of the key word in this discussion is “sustainability,” which will become more and more important.
KRAIBURG is located in Upper-Austria, in the center of Europe. Therefore the company is, and will stay, primarily focused on the European market, he added. “But we are going to intensify our activities also in certain selected international markets. The main objective is to keep the production site in Geretsberg running, to guarantee/secure the jobs of our 300 employees. Last but not least, in contrast to many of our direct competitors we not only maintain but evolve and diversify the range and level of services we offer to our customers.”
The global retread market is currently fiercely competitive. KRAIBURG has defended its position in the European retreading market successfully throughout the past years. “Our market shares are stable. The changes that we observe do occur mainly due to the increased market share of economic new tyres from China, which reduces the quote of retreaded tyres in the after-sales market and hence also our overall-volumes. Our answer to this development I have pointed out in the answer to the first question.”
“However, there is to add that we continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our internal structures and processes, in order to strengthen our competitiveness in the market and to increase our customer orientation at 360° with optimum quality products, technical service, technical and commercial consultancy activities, workshops and trainings of every kind. Our customers appreciate these individual packages which sustain our idea of long term partnerships at an eye to eye level. Sustainability is also the key word if we speak about the nature of KRAIBURG’s relationships in the market.”
Kraiburg has been in the forefront of innovative technology adaptation in tyre retreading and has come up with new products to support the retread industry. Mayrhofer stressed that R&D is one of the basis processes in the organization and it is a field in continuous evolution.
“This regards both our compounding department and our specialists for the development of new tread patterns. I would say that we are very successful in it, when we look at the results. Apart from the fact that more than 20 per cent of the precure treads we have sold in 2015 are part of group our most recent designs which have been developed and protected by KRAIBURG our products keep up with the known benchmarks in the market (retreading and new tyres) as far as mileage and labelling relevant categories such as wet grip, rolling resistance and noise emission are concerned.
New developments, e.g. our new bus pattern K702, are in the pipeline at the moment and will be available this autumn season.”
“We are able to underlay every statement about our products with concrete data and facts which derive from thousands of test series of tyres retreaded with KRAIBURG patterns. We have realized this immense program in cooperation with KBA accredited test institution ‘Prüflabor Nord’ located in the north of Germany. The results are unequivocally and underline that our products must not hide behind new tyres in any of the above mentioned criteria. This is the message we transport to our customers and their customers, the fleets,” he said
On the challenges that KRAIBURG and tyre retreading industry in general, Mayrhofer said: “KRAIBURG Austria is well prepared for this difficult period, but we think that not every retreading company might be able to face this challenge at a long run. There is an ongoing process of consolidation and concentration in the market and it will go on. Nevertheless, we are convinced that retreading itself will always have its justification to exist – if it is done on a high qualitative level according to the state of the art standards of the business. This explicitly includes the “independent” retreading, which is operating apart and independently from new tyre producers’ retreading programs.”
“The ecological aspect, the question of saving resources, a sustainable use of raw materials will gain more and more importance and significance in the future, even if we are not able to predict how long it will take to bring it to a real determinant level of concretization for every aspect of human live. But it will happen and it will increase the share of retreaded tyres in the after-sales market.”
He says that the tyre industry is passing through a phase of consolidation. “Alike within the retreading industry as well in the new tyre industry a consolidation process is taking place at the moment, especially if we consider the Asian manufacturers. The quality of new tyres is going to improve; low quality products will lose importance. As a consequence the average price level will increase.”
“However, as well in this field the question of how fast this development will be finished has to remain unanswered. But one thing is for sure: retreading as a sustainable counter plan to the predominant ideology of wasting resources will take profit from this process.”
Consumer perceptions are fast evolving in the current market. “When Chinese low price tyres appeared on the scene, a lot of retreaders tried to respond to this challenge becoming cheap themselves. As a result we can see the ‘war of the poor’ in which there will be no winner at the end,” Mayrhofer observed.
“Meanwhile our customers follow a similar way as KRAIBURG, their supplier has taken: being closer to the customer (end user), to strengthen services and to convince only with quality, not price-wise. Every customer has to find its own way according to the individual basic conditions in which he is acting. KRAIBURG’s target is to support our customers finding their individual way to overcome this period and to prevail in the end.”
KRAIBURG aligns its production process with ecological requests by a consequent reduction of the resources we consume (raw materials, energy, waste production). “To be able to do this we have optimized our production processes and equipment to the state of the art technologies, even exceeding the existing high legal requirements. We are continuously investing in new technologies, for instance recently in a block heat and power plant which guaranties a significant saving potential regarding energy costs,” Mayrhofer said.