Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2017

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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MTD April 2017 Top 50 retreaders ere is also increased competition from outlets operated by Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores Inc. and the TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network. "I'm already dealing with company-owned operations from Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental," says Chamblee. "Now I've got Love's Travel Stops and TA puing programs together and competing against me as well. I don't know a tire dealer in the country that can offer a tire buying program that can tie into fuel purchases." 'Tires have become a commodity' Chamblee feels that dealerships like his will have to market themselves as service companies, not tire businesses. "Tires have become a commodity within the tire business." Fleet operators are concerned with uptime and keeping the trucks moving. "It's not who sells what tire brand but who can get a fleet up and going the fastest. To survive and continue to operate in our market, we're not going to be a tire company anymore. We're going to solicit our business through the service capabilities we have. It's the same thing that Love's and TA are doing," says Chamblee. Dorsey Tire currently offers 24-hour road service, on-site tire service, fleet checks, and a mounted tire program. e company is expanding its on-site truck and trailer repair, truck chassis repair, and in-shop major truck and trailer repair services. As part of a major expansion to its trailer repair service, Dorsey Tire just completed construction of an 18-bay trailer repair facility. Mobile truck and trailer repair services also are being added. Atlanta Commercial Tire Inc.'s strategy also centers on 'The whole retread industry is being hurt' Jon Langerak is president of Wonderland Tire Co. Inc., a third-generation family-owned company in Byron Center, Mich. He explains the impact of low-cost Chinese imports on his business, the industry and the environment, and suggests a next step for the retreading industry. "The retreading industry in America is now in its fourth year of stagnation and decline in retread units — this will continue as long as the Chinese new tires continue to be dumped here at the prices they are. The whole retread industry is being hurt by the dumping of these cheap, low-cost tires into the U.S. "Many fleets are buying the dispos- able Chinese new tires at rock bottom prices and throwing them away when worn out. This is because many of the Chinese tire casings are of very low quality and uniformity and are unable to be retreaded successfully. The retread industry serves an important role in the American economy by re-using quality casings multiple times, thereby extending the life cycle of a casing for up to seven years. This not only reduces the cost per mile for fleets but also is environmentally sound, keeping millions of tires out of landfills and scrap piles each year. "Currently 43% of our sales come from retread and casing sales. In 2012 it was 53% of our sales. We own and operate our own AcuTread brand retread plant and have been in the retread business since 1983. We have always educated our customers on the good economic and environmental sense of retreading. For our customers, retreading has been and remains a very important part of their tire programs, and one of the important factors in getting lowest cost-per-mile results. "We have certainly experienced erosion of retread sales as some customers opt for cheap, low-quality Chinese new tires. We always try to educate the customer but some are attracted to the cheap price of those tires. We sell very few Chinese new tires because of our commitment to retreading. We understand the good economic and environmental sense of buying a quality new tire and then utilizing that casing, once the original tread is worn out, multiple times for retreading. "I believe it is necessary that retread plant owners, retread licensing companies, and the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau join together and let our voices be heard by our Congressmen and government officials on this issue. There is no doubt in my mind that China is dumping their tire products into America, and I believe the evidence clearly bears this out. One clear indicator of this is that tariffs were implemented some time ago already on both passenger and light truck tires coming from China and many of these same companies are producing and dumping their truck and bus tires in America as well." (From left): Wonderland Tire President Jon Langerak is at his 36,000-square- foot retread plant with Jason Cleveland, manager, and Steve Oudekerk, foreman. The plant produced about 40,000 AcuTread retreads in 2016. 40

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