AKRON (April 2, 2010) — Goodyear's Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems unit, Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. and Eastern Tire Service Ltd. were North America's largest truck, OTR and passenger/light truck tire retreaders, respectively, last year, according to Tire Business' latest analysis of the retreading industry.
Wingfoot which operates 50 retread plants throughout the U.S. and processed more than 39 million pounds of tread rubber last year, easily outdistancing Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions L.L.C., which used about 21 million pounds at its 41 Bandag plants in the U.S. and Canada.
Southern Tire Mart earned the No. 3 retreader rank based on its 18-percent growth to more than 19 milion pounds and Tire Centers L.L.C.'s reduced output in the wake of its selling five retread plants in the past year in three separate divestitures.
Bandag-system retreaders Best One Tire & Service of Indianapolis and Kal Tire of Vernon, British Columbia, round out the top five retreaders.
Only six of the Top 50 truck tire retreaders reported increases in output in 2009, reflecting a generally down year in the commercial tire sector.
Industrywide data for tread rubber consumption are no longer available, but the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) did report that U.S. demand for new medium truck and bus tires was down more than 13 percent, or about 2 million units, last year to 12.9 million.
The drop in trucking activity is also reflected in a 28.3-percent plunge in imports of medium truck and bus tires.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, imports of medium truck tires fell to 6.72 million units, the lowest level in more than a decade. China remained the No. 1 source for imported truck tires, registering a decline of “only” 14.1 percent to 3.22 million units.
Twenty-two of the Top 50 truck tire retreaders are Bandag franchisees, with 16 using the Michelin Retread Technologies system, six Goodyear, three Marangoni Ringtread and eight using other systems.
Potosi, Mo.-based Purcell Tire & Rubber claimed the top spot among OTR tire retreaders after acquiring the OTR-related assets of Wingfoot, which previously had been considered the No. 1 OTR retreader. Purcell's output, though, was essentially was unchanged from 2008, reflecting the weak market last year.
NRI Inc. of Portland, Ore., and H&H Industries of Oak Hill, Ohio, were the No. 2 and 3 OTR tire retreaders last year. Goodyear continues to retread OTR tires in Canada
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia-based Eastern Tire retained the top spot in the passenger category ahead of fellow Canadian retreader Techno Pneu Inc.