Continental to Intensify Cooperation With Partners
A central part of every sales and marketing strategy that is based upon premium products is the guaranteed quality of these products and a highly diversified product portfolio that addresses customer requirements. Continental has in recent times achieved some noteworthy successes in both these strategic areas through the introduction of new products from its truck tyre division, such as the “Continental HTR 2” trailer tyre. The manufacturer has brought together its entire retreading business activities under the “ContiLifeCycle” banner, including its most recent substantial developments, such as an intensified cooperation with the well-known German retreader Reifen Ihle and with the Italian Marangoni Group. All of this helps Continental to literally become a full-line supplier in the sense that it can deliver what premium customers demand: more than just new tyres that are long lasting and help save fuel – instead it delivers a full approach that helps to cut down on costs per kilometre and benefits the environment (although this typically is not the primary goal of tyre buyers). As Eckhard Wilanek, managing director of Continental’s fleet & retread business, points out, all this cannot be achieved without the help of retreading.
Like many other new tyre manufacturers, Continental has for a number of years been committed to retreading – a sector of the industry that used to have a “dirty image”, but has now become respectable. As Eckhard Wilanek says, there are primarily two key reasons why its reputation has changed in recent times. The first of these is very simple: By the time the bite of the global financial and economic recession began to be felt last autumn, fleet operators and freight forwarders were experiencing increasingly strong pressure on their bottom lines. Everybody is short of money. In these unprincely times when ‘cash is king’, economic pressures convince fleet managers that lower-priced alternatives make more sense than new tyres. So while one company will then decide to go for cheap imported tyres from the Far East (without investing into a valuable casing), another company may opt for retreading. It is important to note that the obvious advantages of retreading and the inclusion of retreads into a fleet’s tyre management makes sense at all times, whether good or bad.