The 65th edition of the Tire Industry Association OTR Tire Conference kicks off today. MTD recently caught up with OTR tire manufacturer representatives who participated in the panel discussion during last year’s OTR Tire Conference to get their take on what 2020 has in store. Bruce Besancon, vice president of off-the-road sales for Yokohama Tire Corp., who also will deliver the keynote address at this week’s OTR Tire Conference, says this year will be “somewhat similar” to 2019.
“I do believe that anytime there’s an election year, people sometimes take a wait-and-see attitude,” he explains. “They want to see which way the wind is going to blow before they commit to higher inventory levels. I do believe there is a little concern in the marketplace as to which way certain policies will go and what’s going to happen with tariffs (and) our relationship with China. I think these things will clarify themselves in the first six to nine months of the year.
“The one thing that stays consistent is that the strong players will remain strong. In the last year, we saw a lot of consolidation and that’s been a big factor. The big guys seem to be getting bigger.”
Doug Kershaw, vice president of Balkrishna Industries Ltd.’s BKT USA subsidiary, says OTR tire demand has increased “and will continue to increase as older machines and machines purchased over the past four to five years start to need replacement tires.
“The recent increase in mining activity across most of the U.S. has added a number of tires being sold to mining accounts,” he notes. “The mining business in the U.S. remains strong and the long-term potential for continued growth is good.”
Jimmy McDonnell, vice president of sales and marketing for Maxam Tire North America Inc., says his company sees the overall market “being relatively flat in 2020, compared to 2019. But, of course, an election year always throws some curveballs that are unexpected.”
Shawn Rasey, director of global development, earthmover tires for Continental Tire the Americas LLC. is “cautiously optimistic” about OTR tire demand in 2020, “particularly since it’s an election year. Based on the politics of any election year, it’s not likely that any new sweeping infrastructure programs will be passed by Congress,” he says.
“However, the easing of the regulatory environment over the past few years, coupled with a low unemployment rate, has provided a nice boost to construction, quarry, and mining activity for the earthmover segment.”
More insight from Besancon, Kershaw, McDonnell and Rasey can be found in the February 2020 edition of Modern Tire Dealer.
The 2020 TIA OTR Tire Conference takes place Feb. 19-22 in Indian Wells, Calif. Stay tuned to www.moderntiredealer.com for more coverage.