New North American expo draws nearly 1,600 people
The first North American Tire & Retread Expo was very successful, based on the results from a post-show survey asking both visitors and exhibitors for feedback. Nearly 1,600 people attended the inaugural event, held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
At least five more expos are planned, according to Gus Lima, the show’s organizer. New Orleans will be home to the event through 2020.
Lima, CEO of both the Latin Expo Group LLC and Triangle Tire North America LLC, wanted to hold the show “in a place that’s easy to get to, a place that’s fun, a place where we only talk tires and retread tires.”
Buyers and guests accounted for 1,041 of the attendees.
How low can prices go?
Of the 112 exhibitors, 47 were Chinese companies, or trading companies with direct ties to China. Close to 18 companies were based in the Shandong Province of China, most of them in the port city of Qingdao. They showcased multiple brands of consumer and commercial tires while looking for distributors in the U.S. Tire retread companies, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Marangoni Tread North America Inc. and Vipal Rubber Corp., also had a strong presence.
A big issue on the trade show floor was the cost of new truck tires available from China. One company was selling a new premium trailer tire for $112 plus Federal Excise Tax (FET). The same company was offering a new premium drive tire for $127 plus FET.
When a premium retreaded drive tire goes for between $240 and $250, there is a problem, said one domestic retreader in attendance.
The tire tariffs assigned to consumer tires imported from China were much less of a factor, although one trading company was offering a new Chinese line of passenger tires that already took the added tariff into consideration.
Close to 200 people waited in line at the Firestone Racing booth to get autographs from Indy Racing League driver Helio Castroneves, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner. The Brazilian-born Castroneves finished second at the IndyCar Grand Prix of Louisiana in New Orleans three days before the show opened.
A Spanish retreaded tire won the Miss Retread Truck Tire Contest. Industrias Del Neumaticos S.A.U. of Alicante, Spain, received the $5,000 first prize using Bandvulc Group’s Alphatread bead-to-bead tread on a size 345/65R22.5 Hankook casing.
Allied Oil & Tire Co. of Omaha, Neb., received $2,500 for its Michelin Retread Technologies’ Custom Mold retread on a size 445/50R22.5 Michelin wide-base tire casing. Centre Techno Pneu Inc. of Rimouski, Quebec, Canada, accepted third-place money of $1,000 for its Vipal VT tread on a size 11R22.5 Continental casing. ■
Tire rule change: IndyCar driver Castroneves would like to see a third option
Bridgestone Americas Inc. did not exhibit at the North American Tire & Retread Expo. However, it did sponsor a visit from Indy Racing League driver Helio Castroneves. He has won 29 IndyCar races, and is a three-time winner at the Indianapolis 500.
Castroneves took a break from signing autographs at the Firestone Racing booth to talk with Modern Tire Dealer about his IndyCar racing tire preferences.
He said he would like to see a third option added to tire selection under dry conditions.
As the rules stand now, two types of tires are allowed when it is not raining: a hard compound (the control tire) and a soft compound (the “red” tire, named for its red sidewall).
The use of a faster compound would spice up the racing, at least under certain circumstances. “That would be the ideal because you could take advantage to pass someone,” he said.
He cited two examples in which tires with a faster compound might be strategically advantageous.
“At the start of the race, or during yellows... you could open up a gap between you and somebody else, and when you (pit), you could put the red tires on and still be at a certain advantage. So there are ways that you could do it. I think having another option, a third option, would be cool.”