The Latin Tyre Expo celebrated its 10th anniversary in late June at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama. The Expo has become the leading event for suppliers and manufacturers to connect with leading tire distributors and dealers from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean regions (LATAM).
Gustavo (Gus) Lima, CEO of Latin Expo Group, says this year’s event had 182 exhibitors and roughly 2,500 visitors from 64 countries.
The event was originally scheduled to be held in conjunction with the company’s Latin Auto Parts Show in July at Panama’s larger Amador Convention Center, but the facility was not completed in time, so Lima kept the two events separate for this year, as he had done in the past.
He does plan to host both shows jointly next year at the new convention center, which will feature 635,000 square feet of floor space. The show dates have not been finalized yet.
Jean Barros, commercial manager of Mexico and Central America for Vipal SA de CV, provided an overview of the retreading marketplace for the LATAM region during the event’s educational session. The region’s 2,030 retread plants produce about 11.5 million commercial tires, 5 million auto tires, and 530,000 OTR tires per year, said Barros.
The number of tires that are retreaded varies widely on a country-by-country basis. Barros said some countries’ ratio of retreads versus new tires sold is .2, while the more aggressive countries are seeing 1.8 retreads versus new tires sold.David Shaw, chief executive of Tire Industry Research, spoke about the future of tires and tire manufacturing. He specifically addressed the rapidly changing state of tire manufacturers in China.
In December of 2016, China had 600 firms with 650 factories inside its borders, said Shaw. By December of 2018, that number had dropped to 450 firms with 500 factories, with Shaw predicting by December of 2020 a total of 150 firms and 200 factories will be operating in China. Looking further out to 2030, Shaw predicts there will be 15 firms with 150 factories in China.
Shaw listed 16 reasons that he believes will lead to the shrinking number of companies and plants in China, ranging from consolidations to tariffs against Chinese products to slow domestic demand, along with Chinese tire makers building factories in other countries.
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Leesong Lee, global PCR product manager for Triangle Tire Co., said his company views the high performance tire segment as the largest consumer tire segment by volume; it represents 36% of the total global consumer tire volume. He believes the segment will grow at 3% per year over the next five years. Lee’s chart showed worldwide high performance tire volume at 510,158,000 in 2017, with projections for 2019 at 542,425,000 and 571,443,000 by the end of 2021.Although smaller in size, Lee’s numbers show the ultra-high performance segment to be the fastest growing segment worldwide. It currently represents 9.1% of the total global consumer tire market, but Lee is projecting it to grow more than 13% per year over the next five years. UHP tire volume worldwide was 114,717,000 in 2017, with projections at 153,921,000 by the end of 2019 and 189,326,000 by the end of 2021.
The second fastest growing consumer tire segment is the SUV tire segment, said Lee. He estimates it represents 17.6% of the total volume, and expects it to grow at 8.2% per year over the next five years. SUV tire volume was 235,609,000 in 2017, with projections to be at 281,140,000 by the end of 2019 and 322,305,000 by the end of 2021. ■