663252e0f8b4e90008883044 Bandag Retreads

Retreaders predict demand fluctuations in 2024

May 1, 2024
Some of the country's largest tire retreaders weigh in on projected growth and demand in the year to come.

According to several of the country’s largest retreaders, prices should be the exact opposite of what you want a tire to be: flat.

“We are forecasting a fairly flat year for 2024, with a small increase at some of our newer stores,” said Jon Langerak, president and CEO of Wonderland Tire Co.

And that's good news for fleets, as tire costs are right behind fuel and driver pay as top operational costs, and in the last few years have been increasing in price.

Prices may be going down due to a drop in demand, as the industry is in the midst of a freight recession.

Due to “the market softening (and) freight demand slowing,” Bruce Chamblee, chief operating officer at Dorsey Tire Co., expects to see a “steep decline” in demand versus 2023 levels.

He's not the only one.

“We are expecting a 20% decrease in market demand for 2024,” said Daniel Horn, vice president of sales for McCarthy Tire Service.

Bob Feldbauer, president and CEO of Logan, Utah-based Jack’s Tire & Oil Management Co., agreed that 2024 will be a “slower year.”

Pete Glesing, president of commercial sales and operations at Best-One Tire, projected the decline in demand will be present during the first two quarters of 2024.

Read more: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Retreading commercial tires

Retread rebound?

Not all retreaders are projecting that demand will decrease in 2024, however.

“We expect a moderate increase in demand for retreads in 2024 based on conditions and forecasts within the industry, and will continue to expand our capabilities and network to meet whatever demand we may experience,” said Steve Phillips, director of tire sales and plant operation retread for Love’s Travel Stops.

See more: Love's plans for distribution center, discusses retreading | Fleet Maintenance

Continental Tire the Americas also expecting to see growth in its retread business, according to Shaun Uys, head of Continental U.S. market truck tires, replacement. 

This predicted growth is reflected in the company's decision to open a new retread solutions center in Rock Hill, South Carolina back in March. Continental says that the new facility will focus on improvement and innovation in their retread process.

“We are planning for a year of growth in the retread market between 5% to 10%,” said Jeremy Benton, vice president of commercial division and manufacturing at Black's Tire Service Inc.’s Carolina Retread division.

Bob Berlin, president at Pete’s Tire Barns Inc., which is headquartered in Orange, Massachusetts, said he expects growth in retreaded tire demand at his dealership to be up 2% to 3%.  

Over at Conlan Tire in Mulberry, Florida, demand should increase 15% to 20%, according to Steve Bobovnik, Conlan Tire’s director of corporate operations.

Bobovnik also said that retread production at his company was up 30%. “Customers wanted to stock less new tire inventory because of excessive stock inventory in their warehouses from the previous year.”

Instilling confidence

Any customer can see that retreading casings would cost less than buying brand new tires, but they are still wary about rolling on refurbished rubber.

"There are a lot of rumors that are around that the quality of a retread is not on a par with new tires and that they wear quicker,” said Wonderland Tire's Langerak.

Beliefs like this can hurt retreaders' ability to build their customer base.

“This has been a major issue for smaller fleets as their perception is that the only value proposition (of retreading) is cost savings," noted Dorsey Tire's Chamblee. "The tire industry, as a whole, needs to do a better job in educating and debunking these myths with customers.”

Last year, Brian Cunningham, VP of fleet solutions at Bridgestone Americas, which own retread business Bandag, shared with Fleet Maintenace that retreads can actually exceed new tires on price and performance.

"With many retreads selling for 30 to 50% less than comparable new tires, while performing equal to or better than some quality new tires, retreads provide commercial truck fleets the ability to reduce costs without compromising on performance," he explained.

But getting fleets to realize this takes more than marketing.

Bobovnik said a key to instilling confidence in retreads is “getting our product into the fleet for testing.”  

Langerak agreed.

“The easiest and most effective way to show the customer the quality of a retread is to offer to test them in their fleet so they can see for themselves.”  

Plant tours can also be useful.

“We are proud to have a customer visit our plant unannounced and give them a tour on the spot,” said Bob Feldbauer, president and CEO of Logan, Utah-based Jack’s Tire & Oil Management Co.

To read the original story in its entirety, visit ModernTireDealer.Com.

About the Author

Madison Gehring | Associate Editor

Madison Gehring is Modern Tire Dealer's associate editor. A graduate of Ohio State University, Gehring holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. During her time at Ohio State, she wrote for the university's student-run newspaper, The Lantern, and interned at CityScene Media Group in Columbus, Ohio.

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor-in-chief, Fleet Maintenance

John Hitch is the editor-in-chief of Fleet Maintenance, where his mission is to provide maintenance management and technicians with the the latest information on the tools and strategies to keep their fleets' commercial vehicles moving.

He is based out of Cleveland, Ohio, and has worked in the B2B journalism space for more than a decade.

Hitch was previously senior editor for FleetOwner, and covers everything related to trucking and commercial vehicle equipment, including breaking news, the latest trends and best practices. He previously wrote about manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest.

Prior to that he was editor for Kent State University's student magazine, The Burr, and a freelancer for Cleveland Magazine. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician, where he served honorably aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN-723).

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