AKRONExecutives from the Retread Tire Association (RTA) and Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) see a number of positives on the horizon as the retreading industry heads into 2016.
Here's a summation of their interviews with Tire Business.
The RTA continued to grow in 2015, membership-wise, said Harvey Brodsky, the association's managing director, although some personal matters kept him out of the office for part of last year. This could have led to a big problem with keeping up with member demands; however, the association was able to work through it, he told Tire Business.
Looking forward, RTA plans to update its website in 2016 and add features that will make it easier for visitors to obtain the information they are searching for.
We also intend to continue to make more regular phone contact with our members on a steady basis so that they will know we are there for them and that they can always count on us for help when they need it, Mr. Brodsky added.
Overall, the RTA sees steady growth in the retreading market in the New Year, even as the industry keeps a wary eye on Chinese-made truck tires.
Although we do not have a crystal ball, we believe growth will be steady in 2016, Mr. Brodsky said.
The Chinese truck tire issue continues to be a concern to our members and others, but we believe it will not have much of a negative impact on retreading in 2016. Time will tell.
He noted that members of the industry do have concerns over how the Chinese truck tire issues will affect the industry in the future.
A number of our members are still concerned about how the Chinese are hurting them, and the best we can do to allay their concerns is to continue to feed them positive information about how the Chinese are continuing to improve (the quality of their tires), which will lead to higher prices for their new tires and will also make their new tires more retreadable, Mr. Brodsky said.
One other trend coming down the pike is a possible decrease in the number of viable retread plants in North America.
We will probably see a slight reduction in the number of retread plants in North America as a few of the older independents will either not choose to make the necessary investments to upgrade their plants or they will decide it is time to retire and sell out to the larger competitors who have been knocking at their door, according to Mr. Brodsky.
He said the RTA is here to stay and intends to continue to make membership in the association a worthwhile investmentwhich is why it offers to all of its current and prospective members a 100-percent, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee if they decide membership in RTA was a mistake.
In summary, our goal is to be certain that all RTA members are happy with their membership and that their investment in the Retread Tire Association will always be more than worthwhile, Mr. Brodsky said.
As the quality of today's retreads continues to improve, we see their acceptance by trucking companies continuing to grow, and this will assure that the retread industry in North America and elsewhere will remain healthy. We at the Retread Tire Association will do everything in our power to continue to make it happen.
It is a challenging time for associations in general, but membership at TRIB is stable and growing, according to David Stevens, TRIB's managing director.
All the metrics we look at, in terms of success of the association itself, are very strong, he added.
The stuff that's going on with low-cost Asian imports is starting to impact retread markets all over the world. So it's a challenging time for most of our members that are involved in the business.
One of the big initiatives TRIB accomplished in 2015 was its retread tour of America. The association staff made a cross-country road trip from Oct. 19-Nov. 9, stopping at nine members' retread plants to see the latest innovations in tire retreading, visit customers using retreaded tires in their operations to improve tire life and return on investment, and visit truck stops to speak directly to the users of retreaded tires.
The excursion, which was supported by the American Commercial Tire Network (ACTN), culminated in Las Vegas, rolling into the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show last fall. The tour was great in terms of continuing to spread the message about retreading and its positive economic and environmental benefits, Mr. Stevens said.
He told Tire Business that TRIB focuses on three constituent groups: the public at large, users of retreaded tires and association members. For the general public, TRIB has been working on educating and dispelling misconceptions and concerns about retreading.
For users of retreads, including individual owner-operators or a fleet, TRIB works on helping them understand retreading and connecting them with association members so they can take part in retreading programs.
TRIB has been working on a few initiatives for its membership, including updating its two videos: Environmental Benefits of Retreading and Rubber on the Road.
The association has done voiceovers in Spanish and is working on a Portuguese translation as well.
I think those two (Spanish and Portuguese) first and basically are just trying to focus on the near markets for us, he said.
These two languages were the easy, sort of low-hanging fruit for the association to go into, and it will see what happens from there.
This stemmed from Mr. Stevens' traveling to Latin America every year and being asked what the association has in Spanish. His usual answer was that it didn't have anything, so this was kind of our first step into that.
Besides updating those two videos, TRIB also plans to redo its retreading plant video within the next year.
It basically takes you through the entire retreading process, so that people can understand it, Mr. Stevens said. And so we're in the process of redoing that right now.
The other thing that Mr. Stevens said TRIB is going to focus on in the coming year is the technical and training aspects of retreading.
A lot of people don't understand the process of retreading, he added. They think it's just gluing a tread on an old tire.
TRIB wants to demonstrate what a modern retread plant looks like, including its process and how it is technical and a highly-engineered process. Additionally, Mr. Stevens said the association wants to highlight all the training that goes into that process and the certification that has to be achieved.
These are not just guys that are slapping glue on a tire and putting something on. It's a very involved process, he said.
Mr. Stevens himself will be going through some of these training and certification processes and then talking about his experiences. He said he previously has gone through one-day training sessions with Bridgestone America's Bandag subsidiary, but he has not gone through the whole process.