OTR Tire Conference opens with optimism
Despite some big concerns in the OTR tire marketplace, there is a sense of optimism at the 2011 Off-The-Road Tire Conference in Miami, Fla.
For one, attendance is up at the 56th annual event, sponsored by the Tire Industry Association (TIA). Turnout was the second highest ever and the best in three years. Only the 2008 event in Hawaii was attended by more people who manufacture, sell, service, repair, or retread OTR tires.
Bruce Besancon, marketing director, earthmover tires for Michelin North America Inc., presented the original equipment and replacement OTR tire production numbers on Thursday, Feb. 17, and they were up compared to 2010.
The Tire Manufacturers Panel, moderated by Modern Tire Dealer Publisher Greg Smith, was manned by representatives from Michelin, Bridgestone Americas Off Road Tires, Techking Tires Ltd., Titan Tire Corp. and Yokohama Tire Corp.
Their big concerns tempered the optimism. They centered around the increasing cost of natural rubber -- and subsequent tire price increases; the slow, gradual growth of the economy; and the OTR tire supply shortage.
The four-day OTR Tire Conference will run through Saturday, Feb. 19.