This is in response to John Conroy's excellent letter (Sept. 18 issue) about the Tire Retread Information Bureau tire survey. Although I take exception to Mr. Conroy's statement that I benignly accept mediocrity on the part of retreaders, I totally agree with the rest of his letter. Not only do I not benignly accept mediocrity on the part of retreaders, I have felt like a voice crying in the wilderness over the years while campaigning and arguing for stiffer industry-imposed standards to raise the quality of our product.
Happily, there are many fine retreaders-such as Mr. Conroy's company, Service Tire Truck Centers-that do an outstanding job for their customers and reflect proudly upon our industry.
The purpose of our survey was merely to call members' attention to the comments of a small number of truckers who were randomly interviewed at the recent International Trucking Show in Las Vegas. I thought (and still think) it is helpful for members to hear what is said about retreads in the real world out there.
I'd hate to suffer the fate of ``the messenger who brought bad news.'' But TRIB has never been shy about speaking out and will continue to do so as the occasion warrants.
If only a few retreaders who read Mr. Conroy's letter will reflect on how they can improve the quality of their product, our dialogue will have been worthwhile. In the meantime, TRIB will continue to scream and holler for better quality products from our members and from all others in our industry.
Tire Retread Information Bureau
Pacific Grove, Calif.
Editor's note: Mr. Conroy, a retreader in York, Pa., wrote that the poor opinion of retreads expressed by truckers in the TRIB survey does not result from the poor quality of retreads in general-but from the ill-advised buying practices of these same customers who purchase retreads solely on price and fail to consider the differences in product quality and service between competing bidders. He said the industry must do more to educate customers in this regard.
Read fine print in warranties
Truck tire warranties are again in the news with Michelin's recently announced seven-year/700,000-mile warranty on two tires, described by the manufacturer as ``the first of its kind in the industry'' in a page-one story in your Aug. 7 issue. Also mentioned briefly were warranties from Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Goodyear.
We challenge the trade press to dig a little deeper for their readers and suggest fleet tire buyers look beyond the marketing glitz and advertising power of the ``Big Three'' for complete details of their warranties as well as alternatives offered by other suppliers.
For example, in 1992 Toyo introduced the tire industry's first 66-month warranty (no mileage limit) and across our entire truck tire line, with very solid casing and retread rubber allowances.
That ground-breaking warranty remains in effect today. We opt not to cherry-pick selected products for special warranties. Instead, we believe fleets need a strong, consistent warranty backing them up on whatever they buy from us.
We recommend that press coverage of this topic and warranty comparisons by fleet tire buyers include a variety of available options to help fleets select the overall program offering the mix of coverage that meets their specific needs.
In other words, read the fine print and let the best program for the job win!
Vice President, Truck Tires
Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp.
Sales figures don't add up
I agree that you have the top tire industry publication. But I have to ask what methods you use to verify the sales figures given you by the ``Top independent retailers'' (Oct. 2 issue).
Simply doing a bit of math shows that the average sales per year per store for everyone other than Discount Tire and Les Schwab is a little over $1 million. But according to your numbers, both Discount Tire and Les Schwab are doing more than twice the industry average ($2.1 million and $2.2 million, respectively) per year, per store. Assuming a 300-day operating year, that works out to a slightly more than $7,000 per day per store!
Perhaps the sales numbers they claim are not supposed to be taken seriously. I, for one, look askance at anything so far out of the norm as these numbers seem to be. Am I missing something here?
Adams American Car Care Center
Las Cruces, N.M.
Editor's note: The sales figures were supplied by the companies involved.