By Ann Neal
Larry Lafreniere, Houston sales manager for Beasley Tire Service, explains the retreading process to one of its customers at the grand opening celebration for the company’s 36,000-square-foot retread plant. Photo: Beasley Tire Service
As the possibility of a trade war with China heats up, commercial vehicle tire retailers note they’ve been long concerned about low-cost Chinese truck tires flooding into North America. Donald B. Rice Tire Co. Inc., which goes to market as Rice Retreading Inc., considers chearp Tier 4 tires its biggest competitive challenge today. “We are constantly looking for ways to cut cost out of the retread process so that we can be competitive,” says Chris Chase, president. Retread sales were flat year-over-year at the Frederick, Md.-based company.
Bill Ziegler, president of Ziegler Tire & Supply Co., says bluntly: “Tier 4 tires are slowly killing the retread business.” Retread sales were flat in 2017 versus 2016 for the Massillon, Ohio, based company. Ziegler says to be more competitive requires an increase in volume to spread costs over more units. “We are trying to sell more retreads and casings versus selling Tier 4 new tires.”
At Wonderland Tire Co. Inc., retreading made up 40% of company-wide sales in 2017. “Our units were up about 4% over 2016 but this was mainly due to two acquisitions that we made in June of 2017,” says Jon Langerak, president.
“Pricing is very competitive in the retreading sector, and we see this trend continuing because of the cheap disposable Chinese truck tires being dumped into the United States.”
Retreading volumes have declined year over year at Eastern Iowa Tire Inc. as well. “In our area of the country the first quarter is always slow,” says Gary Van Blaricom, president and CEO. However, 2017’s first quarter was very good for Eastern Iowa Tire, making comparisons to 2018’s first