The retreading industry has worked hard over the years to compete with the new tyre industry and to be heard on political, economic and product issues at European level. Since the industry is strongly shaped by medium-sized and smaller companies, active and influential advocacy thus plays an important role, as we witnessed during the formulation and successful implementation of UNECE regulations 108 and 109 in 2006, a regulation effectively giving retreads type approval equivalency with new tyres. BIPAVER has spearheaded the retreading industry’s lobbying in Europe for many years now, and in April its administration and technical representation was taken over by the German Tyre Retail and Vulcanisation Trade Association (BRV). The association’s two managing directors, general secretary Yorick M. Lowin and technical secretary Michael Schwämmlein, explain why this change took place, what tasks the future holds and what they both can leverage together with BIPAVER’s committees.
One of the latest additions to the Tire Cologne programme is the Global Retreading Conference. According to its organisers, the European retreading association BIPAVER, “the best experts from around the world, the most important technologies, trends and developments and the best cases from all important markets” will be discussed.
From 29 May to 1 June 2018 the tyre industry meets for the first Tire Cologne. The US Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) will also be in attendance. Indeed, David Stevens, TRIB’s managing director, is giving a presentation entitled “Overview of the US retreading market and improvements in plant efficiency” as part of the Global Retreading Conference that is running alongside Tire Cologne. The Global Retreading Conference has been organised by the BIPAVER European retreading association.
Last Friday, friends and colleagues from the industry bade farewell to Ruud Spuijbroek, the “long-time helmsman” of European retreading association BIPAVER and secretary general of Dutch association VACO as he retired from his duties. At a valediction event in the town of Gernsbach, in Germany’s Black Forest, his successor at BIPAVER, Tim van der Rijken, and Hans-Jürgen Drechsler, technical secretary of the European association and managing director of German association BRV, acknowledged one last time Spuijbroek’s contribution to retreading in Europe.
Europe’s retreading industry is in poor shape. Sales volumes have – with the exception of a peak in 2010 and 2011 – decreased by a quarter since 2007. What’s more, the million or more retreads that weren’t (or couldn’t be) sold during this time were offset by an almost one million unit rise in new truck tyre imports. It is no great secret that up to 90 per cent of these imports originate in China and are offered in Europe at prices that make those typically charged by retreaders seem exorbitant, and it can even be posited that these products call an entire industry’s competitiveness into question. Pre-cure retreading, a process more often than not performed by small and medium-sized operations, has come under particular pressure of late. Looking at this phenomenon, it is easy to wonder if we are witnessing the start of a long-term structural change within the industry.
According to Bipaver, the number of truck tyres retreaded in Europe has fallen by a third in the last five years, and it fears this trend will continue unless the European Commission moves quickly to implement legislation that protects against the dumping of low-priced new tyres.
With Autopromotec kicking off in just over a week, the organisers of the aftermarket show (which runs 20-24 May 2015) have confirmed “the success recorded in the halls devoted to tyres and tyre equipment”.
On 31 March, Ruud Spuijbroek stepped down as secretary general of Vaco, the organisation representing the tyre and wheel industry in the Netherlands. Spuijbroek had served as general secretary for close to 20 years, and although he no longer holds the top position at Vaco the 63 year old remains secretary general of European retreading association Bipaver. A successor to Spuijbroek was named at Vaco’s general assembly in December 2014, and on 1 April Tim van der Rijken took over as the association’s secretary general.