There has been much hand-wringing in recent years about the entry into the North American market of tires produced in low labor cost countries such as China, Korea and India. What impact would the int...
There has been much hand-wringing in recent years about the entry into the North American market of tires produced in low labor cost countries such as China, Korea and India. What impact would the introduction of such tires have on current fleet spec’ing and retreading practices? Would fleet buyers be swayed by the markedly lower cost of these tires or would the reputation and service provided by the traditional brands prevail during the buying decision?
Our annual Equipment Buying Trends Survey found that almost a fifth of Canadian fleets have indeed used offshore tires, primarily (71%) at the trailer axle position. Almost a quarter have used them at the drive axle position. Close to a third (31%) also reported that they are retreading offshore brands.
Although it’s far too early to draw strong conclusions about the future of these new offshore products, our research so far indicates that beyond trials, acceptance remains limited. Almost 9 out of every 10 fleet managers in our survey indicated they would not replace their brand name tires with offshore brands right now. A similar number indicated they would not use offshore tires rather than retreading brand name tires.
Two-thirds of our respondents planned to optimize their tire costs in the future by improving in-house preventive maintenance practices. But it is important to note that 20% of the sample also indicated they would optimize tire costs by seeking a better acquisition price.
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