Giti Tire (USA) Ltd. continues to reap the benefits of its new plant and relocated technical center in Chester County, S.C., according to Jim Mayfield, senior executive vice president of sales and marketing, who responded to a questionnaire provided by Tire Business.
Q: With the year nearing its halfway point, how would you describe business thus far in 2018?
A: Uncertainty of government trade policies (around the world with governments of the larger nations, not just the U.S. government) are contributing to uncertainty in the market. It has created opportunities for many and threats for others. The market has continued with more consolidations both in the upstream and downstream.
Q: What are some of the pleasant surprises you are seeing in the industry? What has surprised you most?
A: Continued improvement in economic outlook. Consumer confidence is on the rise. The JV announcements of Michelin with TBC and Bridgestone and Goodyear to form NTW and TireHub surprised many in the tire industry. They could potentially be market shapers and the spark that disrupts tire industry distribution and level of services.
Q: Where do you see the industry markets heading during the last half of 2018?
A: Continued consolidation of distribution in the retail segment and on-shoring of manufacturing to mitigate rising trade protectionism by G20 countries and others around the world.
Q: What kind of trends are you seeing in the marketplace? How is your company reacting to them?
A: More focus on individual brands within the distribution channel. We are continuing to focus on working with distributors who bring value to market and value to our brand while demonstrating value to each step...from manufacturer to the end user.
Q: What sectors look to be strong? Are they sustainable for the future?
A: In the PLT arena: CUV/SUV and P-metric light truck applications.
Q: What sectors are struggling? Do you expect them to rebound? How soon?
A: Broad market passenger, especially in the less than 16-inch rim diameters. The potential rise of the smaller rim diameters would necessitate a tire for the commuter autonomous fleets carrying multiple passengers as the equivalent of van pools or shuttles.
Q: Has the threat of tariffs affected your business one way or another? How so?
A: The threats of tariffs in the U.S. and in other regions of the world create confusion, disruption and hesitancy in almost every portion of the tire industry, from raw material companies, through manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to the end-user or consumer.
Q: Do you foresee any price hikes in the second half of the year?
A: From an industry perspective, any and all hikes are dependent upon the market conditions and the environment in which we do business.