Modern Tire Dealer

JUN 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D J u n e 2 0 1 9 42 KAREN SCHWARTZ, business-to- business marketing director for on-road products at Michelin North America Inc.: With the growth of e-commerce and last mile delivery, we continue to see the yearly medium-duty ton miles increas- ing, and growth is accelerating. e 5 year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for medium-duty ton mile growth is 2.7%, but the 2-year CAGR has increased more than a full percentage point to 3.8%. Additionally, we see the length of haul decreasing, with trips less than 50 miles growing at a rate of 25% year-over-year, and businesses that utilize medium duty trucks, such as e-commerce, up 15% in 2018. With the multitude of uses seen by medium duty trucks it is hard to generalize specific tire trends. Last-mile delivery has come to the forefront as well as local trades. It seems most customers are looking for a combination of these main performance attributes; robustness, long tread life and traction. Examples would be a robust casing to resist puncture and traction for utility and construction applications, or robust sidewalls to resist curbing damage and wet traction in high stop and start environments like regional and urban/last mile delivery. PARK, Tireco: Tariffs are making tires more expensive. Another trend is the increase in domestic replacement truck tire shipments. New factories are being built in the U.S. by overseas brands, and more companies are producing truck tires here. All-season drive and wide-base/super single tires are segments where we are seeing an increase in demand. More manufacturers are starting to add these lines to their product portfolio. DAVE JOHNSTON, senior product manager of commercial tires at Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.: Two of the top trends in the medium truck tire market include the expan- sion of the medium duty class 3-6 segment. ese vehicles continue to fill the need of service truck fleets and delivery vehicles. From final mile e-commerce to the energy sector trucks, 19.5-inch tires will continue to fill an ever increasing need for ease of use, reduced up front cost and increased value to the fleets and the economy. Toyo now offers seven tire options for fleets including the new M655 with 3PMS rated traction. Increased durability and longevity are derived through innovative technologies. e other trend we're seeing is the struggle fleets face in driver retention. is can lead to fleets using smaller vehicles that may not require as much specialized training and licensing. Getting drivers to work faster and with less up-front cost can help to ease the pressure to attract and retain drivers. CHUCK LUTHER, Northeast regional sales manager for Triangle Tire USA: With the proliferation of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments and warehouse-to-door delivery of internet-purchased goods, there is serious continued development of regional and local haul tire designs; both in rib design and traction design. Tires for smaller delivery vehicles — 17.5-inch, 19.5-inch, 9R22.5 and 10R22.5 sizes— are being developed to offer more miles, better fuel economy and repeated retreadability. As consumers continue to do more internet shopping with delivery directly to their home or business, the smaller commercial tires will increase in demand and therefore be a hotly contested part of the commercial business. As these smaller sizes continue to grow in popularity, there quite possibly will be new sizes developed to accommodate the anticipated increase in the number of vehicles that will be deployed for this regional and local delivery service. Another area of development is and will continue to be commercial tires for electric or hybrid commercial vehicles. ere are various companies in the latter stages of testing and evaluating all-electric com- mercial vehicles. e demands of the tires on these vehicles will quite possibly differ from normal or even SmartWay-approved tires. ere will be increased emphasis on roll time and therefore increased emphasis on reducing the rolling resistance of the tires. To increase the miles driven on a full battery charge, every aspect of drag needs to be looked at carefully, including the tires. e tread depth, tread compounding and casing design all play a part in reducing rolling resistance. We quite possibly will see changes in all three, as well as aspect ratios and tire sizing for these new electric commercial vehicles. TOM CLAUER, senior manager of commercial and off-the-road tire product planning at Yokohama Tire Corp.: Lower rolling resistance coefficient (RRC) is the most obvious. Fleets are employing products, devices, soware, A.I., etc., to get the most out of every piece of equipment they can. Tires are one of a fleet's top expenses, so using tires that have low RRC, longer original tread life cycles and high retreadability can add considerably to a fleet's bottom line. Re-configuring distribution has changed the way most fleets use and buy equipment. Last-mile delivery has brought in a whole new array of equipment, including class 4 vehicles. is means smaller diameter (16-, 17.5- and 19.5-inch) tires for commercial service applications. Urban and pick-up and delivery-type products need protection from the high-frequency starts, stops and turns. Traditionally commercial products have been either drive or steer: the market demand now is also looking for all-position and all-season products. LI, ZC Rubber: e end users are still seeking long-mileage products with accept- able fuel efficiency, but not products with good fuel efficiency but poor mileage — especially customers involved in the regional segment. erefore mileage will be always our focus. Another trend is about retreading, as the duties on Chinese tires will definitely bring up the new tire cost. MTD: How are you improving fuel efficiency in your tires? Is SmartWay verifica- tion still a priority, or has efficiency evolved to a higher level? JOHNSON, Bridgestone: Fuel efficiency is a key purchase consideration for fleet customers, and Bridgestone continues to bring new innovations for improved rolling resistance and corresponding fuel efficiency to market with our leading line of Bridgestone Ecopia tires. We are committed to making mobility more efficient for commercial customers and strive to deliver the best portfolio of products, technologies and Because Goodyear doesn't source truck tires from China for the U.S. market, the company says the ongoing trade saga is "having no impact on our ability to supply customers in the U.S." PHOTO COURTESY OF GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO. T r u c k T i r e s

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