AKRON — In a year dominated by the machinations surrounding the U.S. government's investigation into possible dumping duties on truck and bus tires from China, the commercial tire industry dealt with a relatively stagnant replacement market, a down original equipment market and a struggling retread sector.
In the end, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted against imposing elevated import duties on Chinese tires after initially determining there was probable cause to do so. That initial assessment from early 2016, however, had a chilling effect on enough Chinese brands that imports of truck/bus tires from China fell 14.4 percent.
One change that bears watching will be the move by nationwide truck stop chain TravelCenters of America L.L.C. (TA) to build what it claims will be the "largest independent commercial tire dealership" in the U.S. with the roll out of the TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network.
- This article appears in the April 10 print edition of Tire Business.
The Westlake, Ohio-based company operates 243 truck service locations in 43 states and Canada, principally under the TA and Petro Stopping Centers brands. Those facilities include about 1,079 repair bays, nearly 3,000 technicians and a fleet of more than 1,600 of its RoadSquad Connect emergency roadside assistance vehicles, along with a growing fleet of OnSITE mobile maintenance vehicles.
TA features Goodyear brands (including Kelly and Marathon) through its travel centers, and it offers a range of other tire brands, including BFGoodrich, Continental, Roadmaster and Yokohama. It also offers Bridgestone and Michelin through national account programs and recently added the Pirelli brand and its Formula associate brand.