In general, the construction part of the specialty tire industry is going reasonably well, but the light truck tire market is a little soft right now, according to Jim Pearl, vice president of marketing for Denman Tire Corp.
He declined, however, to discuss the company's sales figures.
``I think the light truck market is soft because of gas pricing,'' he said. ``It's still a big piece of our business, still going OK, but it's not quite as good as we'd like.''
Perhaps the biggest potential change in the specialty market, according to Mr. Pearl, is a shrinking supply of bias tires.
``I think the product coming out of China is being consumed domestically there, particularly bias tires,'' he said. ``We still import some bias tires from there, but we've heard from customers in the field that they've had more and more trouble getting bias tires from China.''
Denman's newest product is a radial ST trailer tire in two sizes-23585R16, both 10-ply and 12-ply, and 24575R16, in 10-ply only.
The whole idea behind the new trailer tire is increased load capacity, Mr. Pearl said. ``That market before was serviced by light truck tires, but they didn't do the job for load capacity. Our 12-ply 235 ST has more load capacity than a 14-ply 235 LT.''