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Published on April 23, 2001

Schwab's exit retreading's loss

Despite a steady decline in production over the past two decades, passenger tire retreading always seemed to have some hope of recovery as long as Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. was still producing them.

But that venerable dealership's decision to pull the plug on that business last year because it couldn't compete with inexpensive new tires puts in doubt the long-term viability of the product.

Once a thriving business with more 10,000 shops producing 30 million units annually, passenger tire retreading in the U.S. has shrunk to less than 100 plants producing fewer than 600,000 passenger retreads a year.

Unless something dramatically changes the economics involved, passenger tire retreading's days are indeed numbered.


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