GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 4, 2004)—Piedmont Truck Tires Inc. is converting its retreading business to the Michelin Retread Technologies (MRT) process from the Bandag Inc. process.
The Piedmont Tire contract is the first of 12 new MRT shops Michelin Americas Truck Tires (MATT) expects to open this year, according to Tom Brennan, director of retreading for MATT. The company declined to identify any of the other planned MRT locations.
Piedmont Truck Tires said it is switching systems because it believes the MRT products and process will enhance the firm's long-term value and “will differentiate us in the marketplace,” said Dan Rice, the dealership's president and majority owner.
Greensboro-based Piedmont Truck Tires is setting up an MRT pre-mold plant in Raleigh, N.C., that effectively will mirror the production capacity of the firm's two Bandag plants—more than 300 units a day, according to Tire Business archives—which have now ceased operations, Mr. Rice said. The Bandag plant in Stokesdale, N.C., will be converted to warehousing, he said.
Piedmont is now in the process of setting up the MRT plant and is getting retreads from another, unnamed MRT retread location until the new plant is production ready, Mr. Rice said.
Piedmont has been in the truck tire business for more than 25 years, according to the company's Web site, and operates five retail and commercial tire service locations throughout North Carolina, including one in Charlotte that opened in July 2003. The company's truck tire offerings include BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Kelly, Michelin and GeoStar brands.
Piedmont had been a Bandag retreader for about 10 years, Mr. Rice said, following its takeover of Rockingham Bandag a decade ago. Prior to that, Mr. Rice said, Piedmont had used Oliver Rubber Co. materials and processes.
There were 24 MRT franchisees in the U.S. and Canada operating 46 MRT plants at year-end 2003, according to Michelin. MRT has recorded “significant gains” in market share every year since its introduction to the North American market in 1997, Mr. Brennan said.