Tire dealers throughout the country are seeing growth in their overall OTR business, which they credit to a strong economy.
James Raben, vice president of OTR sales at Evansville, Ind.-based Raben Tire Co., said the economic climate plays into the success of the OTR market.
"The OTR market is strong primarily because the current administration has been very supportive of the coal industry, and the economy overall is strong and creating more commercial and industrial investment," he said.
Industrial projects are popping up across the board.
"The sustained national economic high-water mark is driving investment in site work for everything from elderly housing to new corporate headquarters here in Maine," said Jim McCurdy, CEO and founder of Maine Commercial Tire, which has four locations in Maine.
"Since Maine is traditionally a year or two behind national trends, we are in the catch-up mode when it comes to infrastructure development. This naturally drives demand for OTR tires as well as construction-related truck tires and retreading."
Ty Smith, vice president of OTR sales and operations at Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based McCarthy Tire, said demand for earthmover tires has increased while supply has decreased.
Mr. Smith said OTR business has grown, as has pricing over the last two years, but it has leveled off in the last six months.
Planning is key.
"Forecasting is very important for our customers," Mr. Smith said. "We're having to forecast at least 90-150 days out for tires in certain sizes."
Other areas have seen a spike in the oil and gas business.
"Last year was probably our best year ever since 1961, but it's all oil and gas. Oil and gas has really boosted things up," said Vernon Skinner, owner of Beverly, Ohio-based Skinner Firestone.
"It seems like you lose one thing, another thing opens."
OTR business has been decent, he said, but not what it should be.
Equipment drives demand
With many construction and other industrial projects in motion, new and old machinery is in use.
Mr. McCurdy said "any piece of equipment that may have been underutilized in the past is working every day."
Raben Tire isn't so much seeing new equipment driving demand, but rather the return of older machines.
"In previous years a lot of mining equipment was taken out of service," Mr. Raben said.
"Now much of that older equipment is back in service. Underground mining rebuild shops are at full capacity with orders booked out for all of 2019."
Mr. Raben noted the export side of the mining industry continues to remain strong, and underground mines are expanding current sites.
Mr. Skinner's mining industry business is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He said nothing in the mining industry has helped business, but tractor trailer, dump trucks and water truck business have been good.
Market loss, growth