CTNA enters retread market

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CTNA enters retread market

In one of the most significant retread market developments in recent memory, Continental Tire North America Inc. (CTNA) has joined the ranks of medium truck tire manufacturers offering “cradle to grave” life cycle service with its own Continental branded retread product.

CTNA will offer ContiTread retreads in the United States and Mexico. The retreads will be manufactured by Marangoni Tread North America (MTNA) retreaders.

CTNA’s entry into the retread market is part of an overall revitalization of the company’s commercial tire program (see page 23 for more details).

“One of the things we recognized is that we did not have a complete life cycle solution,” says Paul Williams, executive vice president, Commercial Vehicle Tires, the Americas, CTNA. “It’s just something we needed to have in our portfolio of armament.”

MTNA, he says, will be “the facilitator” of ContiTread. The product will be available both as a

Marangoni RINGtread product and as “premium cut-to-length technology, depending on size and other criteria,” says MTNA CEO Bill Sweatman.

ContiTread is expected to be available through MTNA’s entire network of retreaders this summer.

Life cycle solution

ContiTread will be offered in two designs, says Williams. One is based on the Continental HDL Eco Plus and the other is based on the HTL Eco Plus, one of five new medium truck tires introduced by CTNA three months ago.

“We’ve copied the HDL Eco Plus and HTL Eco Plus tread designs for a premium drive retread and a premium trailer retread.” The retreads also will contain the same compounds as the new tires.

Customers “will get a retread that will look almost exactly the same and will perform almost exactly the same as the original tire,” says Williams. “The reasons a fleet would select the HTL Eco Plus for a new trailer tire — the fuel savings and performance — shouldn’t be any different than why they would select a retread to do the same. The retreads should be a copy.”

“Our objective with ContiTread is to go after fleets with a life cycle solution,” says Clif Armstrong, director of marketing, Commercial Vehicle Tires, the Americas, CTNA.

“This is a big retread market and a very competitive market. Our goal is to offer fleets the very best solutions for lowering their overall driving costs.”

ContiTread has been running on several test fleets in the U.S. Williams says CTNA does not see a reason to create a retread for its General medium truck tires. “We don’t see that as an opportunity today. Continental is the way to go for us.”

The Continental brand has 2.5% of the U.S. medium/heavy truck tire market, according to Modern Tire Dealer research. The General brand has 4.5% market share. (There were 15.5 million medium/heavy truck tires shipped in 2008.)

By offering its own retreads, CTNA will compete with several heavy hitters, including Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions, which has a combined 25.5% share of the U.S. medium/heavy truck tire market; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which has 24% share of the market; and Michelin North America Inc., which enjoys 22% share.

Field testing continues

The CTNA-MTNA partnership is an outgrowth of an existing tread rubber manufacturing agreement between the firm’s parent companies, Continental AG and Marangoni SpA, in Europe, according to Sweatman

No ContiTread products have been sold in Mexico yet, but CTNA is “putting together a whole new platform from which we can have a ContiTread business for our dealer network there,” says Williams. “They’ve been asking for it for years. We’re going to match our new products that do well in the Mexican market with our retreads.”

Meanwhile, field testing of ContiTread will continue. Sweatman says the resulting data “will allow us to come back and make some very bold statements about what to expect.”    ■

Technologically active -- Marangoni has been abuzz with new products

ContiTread, Continental Tire North America Inc.’s new retread product, isn’t the only product that Marangoni SpA, Marangoni Tread North America Inc.’s parent company, has been developing.

Marangoni recently unveiled several new products, including its Black Swan automated cushion gum application system; its FAST (Fatigue, Advanced, Speed, Test) tire tester; and e-comm, a product for European commercial vehicles.

The Black Swan system combines several phases of the retreading process, including cushion gum application, crater filling and sidewall reconstruction. It’s designed to yield “considerable savings,” according to Marangoni officials, including elimination of the need to buy specialized adhesive equipment. In addition, “the operator of the building machine also can operate Black Swan at the same time, resulting in increased productivity.”

The FAST tire tester can be used “to set up and conduct all tests required by international certification standards,” including fatigue and high speed tests. The sound-proof tester consists of a steel drum, two testing stations and other components.

Marangoni’s e-comm tire for commercial vehicles is designed for “limited environmental impact and low rolling resistance, meaning reduced fuel consumption and increased mileage.”

It’s geared for European commercial vehicles like the Fiat Ducato, the Opel Movano, the Peugeot Partner and others.

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