The following excerpts are from surveys Tire Business sent to specialty and industrial tire marketers who answered this question:
``What trends and issues are impacting the production and sales of specialty and industrial tires?''
* ``Raw material and labor costs; OEM manufacturing production schedules have an impact.'' (Alliance Tire Co. USA Ltd., Denville, N.J.)
* ``The proliferation of sizes and tread designs within the ATV segment has rapidly increased in response to what manufacturers are telling us has been tremendous original equipment demand for ATV tires. As production capacity is shifted toward OE contracts, supply is affected in the replacement market. But inventory costs increase for both dealers who offer ATV tires and distributors who support those dealers as the specialized tread designs and sizes that are created for OEMs' needs add to the SKU proliferation.
``Inventory costs and challenges are further increased with the coming radialization of the industrial and specialty market as the manufacturers push dealers and distributors toward new radial products while the market demand remains high for traditional products. During the transition phase, dealers are challenged to carry duplicate inventory of radial and traditional product lines.'' (American Tire Distributors Inc., Huntersville, N.C.)
* ``End-user requests for flat-free tires.'' (Carefree Tire, South Gate, Calif.)
* ``More Asian Rim products are impacting pricing and profitability-both positively and negatively.'' (Del-Nat Tire Corp., Memphis, Tenn.)
* ``Raw material and shipping costs are rising.'' (Duro Tire & Wheel Inc./Hwa Fong Rubber (USA) Inc., Covington, Ga.)
* ``There are greater numbers of off-shore manufactured units being sold in the U.S. market.'' (Foreign Tire Sales Inc., Union, N.J.)
* ``Dealers are recognizing that this is a very profitable part of their business.'' (Galaxy Tire and Wheel Inc., Malden, Mass.)
* ``We see pricing continuing to be very competitive.'' (Kenda U.S.A., Reynoldsburg, Ohio)
* ``Chinese products and their pricing.'' (Professional Industrial Tire Co. Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn.)
* ``Increased competition from off-shore suppliers.'' (Specialty Tires of America Inc., Indiana, Pa.)
* ``An increase in electric trucks due to environmental considerations puts a greater need for lower rolling resistance tires in order to maximize battery life.'' (Superior Tire & Rubber Corp., Warren, Pa.)