AKRON-Expansion is second nature to North America's largest retreading firms. And never is this fact more apparent than when TIRE BUSINESS contacts these companies each spring in preparation for its annual rankings. Every year's information-gathering effort turns up a battery of news stories concerning what the continent's largest retreaders are doing in their constant quest for growth and market dominance. And this year's survey preparations proved no exception.
The following is only a sampling of what this year's rankings survey turned up. Often, such stories serve as a barometer for gauging industry trends.
Achievor bolsters marketing efforts
CHICAGO-Achievor Tire L.P., formerly Lakin General Corp., plans to expand its passenger retread production and direct marketing efforts to independent dealers this year.
The company produces the Achievor-brand, bead-to-bead, ``remanufactured'' passenger and light truck tires. The retreader has been seeking new outlets for its product since its largest distribution channel, the Sears, Roebuck and Co. mail-order catalog, folded last year.
President Richard Gust said the firm plans to produce more performance and P-metric sizes and market the Achievor as a private brand, encouraging dealers to sell the tires at an opening price point to achieve a better margin.
Fountain Tire in B.C. market
EDMONTON, Alberta-Fountain Tire Corp. has been making a big push into the neighboring British Columbia market and expanded its OTR retreading business in both Alberta and British Columbia during the past year.
A company spokesman said the dealership is producing both medium truck and OTR retreads for the British Columbia market at its Abbotsford plant near Vancouver, British Columbia.
He said the company will continue expanding into that market and boost its OTR business there.
White's addind bead-to-bead
WILSON, N.C.-White's Tire Service of Wilson Inc. is expecting to set up new equipment in May that will enable the retreader to produce bead-to-bead truck retreads.
The company also is planning to begin performance passenger tire retreading later this year, according to President James White Jr.
White's Tire, which in past years has won blue ribbons in the retread appearance contest at the ARA World Tire Conference, won't have any entries this year, Mr. White said. Rather than send tires with the same design as past entries, White's Tire hopes to introduce its new bead-to-bead retreads in next year's contest, he said.
OTR retreads get bead-to-bead
ST. LOUIS-Community Tire Co. Inc. said it has purchased equipment that will enable it to produce the only bead-to-bead earthmover tires in the U.S.
The equipment, due to arrive later this year, is expected to significantly increase the retreader's share of the earthmover tire market, according to company President Michael Berra.
New Holland Tire relocates plant
TERRE HILL, Pa.-New Holland Tire Inc. opened a second retread plant in Sumner, Ga., in mid-March, replacing a plant it closed in Harrisburg, Pa.
President Gene Graybill said the company experienced labor union problems at the Harrisburg plant and found labor costs were less expensive in Georgia.
The new, larger, 60,000-sq.-ft. plant has boosted the firm's total production to 980 truck tires daily, compared to an average 947 units per day in 1993.
Once fully operational, the new plant's production will be divided 60 percent precure and 40 percent mold cure, New Holland officials said.
New Holland Tire's former Harrisburg plant produced mold-cure retreads.
Pacific Coast moving plant
OAKLAND, Calif.-Pacific Coast Retreaders Inc., which largely services the intermodal trucking industry, said it plans to relocate its Irvine, Calif., retreading plant to the Long Beach, Calif., area in October.
Operations will be expanded with the addition of equipment, the company said.
The Oakland-based firm is one of several new to the rankings, found on pages 19 and 21.