Don’t sell China short, says Retread Tire Association
Much sentiment about Chinese manufactured tyres emanating from the US in recent years has had a negative tone to it; from quality concerns to accusations of dumping, Chinese product has not always been welcomed with open arms. Yet it is unfair to tar all Chinese manufacturers with the same brush, and the Retread Tire Association is currently trying to get the message across that Chinese truck tyres can be a suitable alternative.
“Are they any good? Can they even be retreaded? The answer to the two questions is yes and yes,” comments RTA managing director Harvey Brodsky. He does, however, mention that his positive answer does not apply to all Chinese truck tyres. “It is no secret that a lot of junk has been produced by some truck tyre manufacturers in China in the past, but the smart Chinese truck tyre manufacturers soon realised that they could never gain a foothold in other countries unless their quality greatly improved,” Brodsky continues. “In recent years two companies come to mind when we discuss high quality Chinese truck tyres, and they are Double Coin and Sailun.”
Brodsky describes the pair as companies that have gone to “great lengths to improve their quality and to build into their casings the high quality materials that will allow their tyres to be very retreadable.” He further notes the necessity for Chinese tyre makers to work according to these principles; they will, he states, be shut out of profitable global markets unless quality is continually improved.
“I have visited China twice in the past few years and have toured two very modern tyre plants, both of which impressed me with their attention to high quality,” the RTA managing director comments. “In October of 2010 I had the opportunity in Shanghai to be with some of the top people of the largest truck tyre manufacturers in China and I came away impressed at their strong dedication to become known as the manufacturers of top quality truck tyres, and nothing less.”
A sign of confidence in China’s ability to produce quality commercial vehicle tyres can be seen in the tyre majors’ decisions to set up operations there, Brodsky adds: “Practically every major name in truck tyre manufacturing, including Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin currently produces or is getting ready to produce truck tyres in China. Surprised? They wouldn’t be there – spending hundreds of millions of dollars in new plants – if they didn’t believe top quality truck tyres can and will be produced in China.
Harvey Brodsky encourages a cautious approach to purchasing unfamiliar brands and recommends fleet operators do their homework: “Be certain you have your tough questions answered, such as, “How good is your warranty, can you guarantee the retreadability of your tyres, can you give me the names of satisfied customers and other references?”
In imploring truck tyre purchasers not to sell China short, the RTA managing director points states it is not his intention to “plug” Chinese tyres. “I just felt it was time to tell the rest of the story and to dispel some of the myths about Chinese tyres,” he concludes.