Joseph Saoud from Bridgestone was the keynote speaker at NATRE in New Orleans.

Joseph Saoud from Bridgestone was the keynote speaker at NATRE in New Orleans.

Joseph Saoud, president of truck and bus radial tires in the U.S. and Canada for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, used his keynote address at the North American Tire & Retread Expo (NATRE) to promote the virtues of quality retreads while at the same time expressing concerns over low cost imported tires.

Saoud said the market for retreads has been shrinking even though fleets are setting records for miles driven.  He blamed a 3% loss in retreads to the influx of “low cost tires.” Saoud said some of the tires coming into the country “don’t meet the rule of the law.”

Pointing out that the top three expense items by fleets are people, fuel and tires, Saoud said retreads can increase profitability for fleets and dealers far better than only using new tires. Saoud believes there are 500 retread facilities in the U.S. accounting for 50,000 jobs. 

He said Bandag retreaders produce 800 tires per hour which equates to about seven million retreads per year. “The case for premium retreads is clear…they save trucking about $3 billion per year.”

Following Saoud's keynote speech, NATRE attendees enjoyed cake to celebrate Bandag's 60th anniversary.

Following Saoud's keynote speech, NATRE attendees enjoyed cake to celebrate Bandag's 60th anniversary.

In looking toward the future, Saoud said current retreading processes “are not state-of-the-art.” He said his company is investing incrementally to increase productivity in retreading. The key, he said, is to determine how to invest its capital in raw materials, production and infrastructure.

Saoud spoke on the opening day of NATRE in New Orleans.

Gus Lima, CEO of the Latin Expo Group LLC, and founder of the expo, announced NATRE is moving to Nashville in 2018. NATRE will be held April 4-6, 2018, at the Music City Center in Nashville.

The 2017 expo continues through April 21. Modern Tire Dealer is media sponsor of the event.

To read more about what's happening at NATRE, see:

Double Coin Expands Warranty on Radial Truck Tires

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