Part 7 of the Commercial Tyre Business retreading feature put a spotlight on the UK National Fleet Account Manager for the Prometeon Tyre Group, Wayne Bell. Wayne revealed to Commercial Tyre Business his views on whether retreading is benefiting from new tyre imports, if retread tyres should receive tyre labelling in the future and how independent retread manufacturers can survive in an increasingly competitive industry.
What Prometeon Offer in the Retread Market
The Prometeon Tyre Group has been a core fixture in the UK market for quite a while, selling Prometec retreaded tyres manufactured in the UK. Prometeon’s offer is fairly unique as they cater for a variety of customers with different tyre needs. As a result of this, they work with both hot and cold curing.
Bell explains that hot cure remoulds are more popular with larger fleets with wider logistical operations as they offer value for money and can be regrooved. Around 75-80% of Prometeon’s base request hot cure remoulds on the front drive axle and the middle axle of tri-axle trailers. As they receive a lot of requests, the Prometec range has been increased to handle the demand.
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For smaller fleets who prefer obscure sizes, the Group has a range of mid-range to premium casings. Bell underlines that a quality retread is only possible with a solid casing, so Prometeon maintains a robust supply chain from UK customer fleets and tyre dealers to maximise the possibility of retreading, although he freely admits that sometimes they may source casings from Europe if they experience a rush of orders.
How Retreading is Experiencing a Renaissance
Echoing other retreaders, Bell indicates that new imported budget tyres have fallen somewhat by the wayside for a large section of fleets, in spite of the economic certainty caused by Covid-19.Operators are more distrustful of budget tyres, “Due to poor mileage performance, stock availability issues and fluctuations in prices,” Bell argues. Equally important, the retreading market has definitely benefited from the tariffs imposed on tyres imported from China. This not only gives the retreading sector a fighting chance of expanding but also helps Promoteon’s Prometec line grow year-on-year.
Equally beneficial for UK retreaders is the current worldwide situation. While the wider supply chain issues that are currently garnering a fair share of headlines, such as import cost increases and the lack of HGV drivers, are significantly damaging the commercial sector recovery, these issues mostly affect budget imports and don’t impact retreaders. For stability, the retread market is finding its niche as a reliable, constant source of security.
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What Can be Done to Aid the Retread Market and How Can Independent Retreaders Stay Viable in an Increasingly Challenging Market?
Although fleet managers are on the same page as tyre manufacturers looking for sustainable concepts, Bell believes that if retreads were subject to tyre labelling, this would give the consumer more peace of mind and “allow the customer to make an informed choice on the retread product they have fitted to their fleet.” There’s no doubt in Bell’s mind that retreaded tyres are the key for fleets and firms to reach sustainability targets, however, for the wider market, labelling would ensure that all retreaders are producing high quality products, which means the customer can see a worthy return on investment, helping declassify some of the myths that surround retreads.
Ending a wide-ranging chat, Bell added that independent remould manufacturers play a huge role in sustainability. However, as the larger fleets tend to go with the bigger manufacturers offering competitive rates, independent retreaders have to maintain their niche in the small and mid-sized fleet sectors where dealers still prefer direct communication and a different style of tyre manufacturing service.