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Cooper's Schroeder Discusses Truck Tire Trends to Watch

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Nikola is investing heavily in electric vehicle technology and production, Cooper's Schroeder said. Electric trucks "are here and they aren't going away."

Speaking during K&M Tire Inc.’s 2021 Dealer Conference, Gary Schroeder, executive director of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s commercial tire business, urged truck tire dealers to monitor several ongoing developments.

“Smart “ commercial truck tires are no longer the stuff of science fiction. They “are being evaluated and looked at today. But I think we are a few years away” from the establishment of an industry-wide standard, according to Schroeder.

“It’s just a matter of time,” he added. “Over the period of the next few years, we’ll see it come together.”

Electric commercial trucks “are here and they aren’t going away. But the question is: how big will they get over time?” 

 

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“I’m excited about the prospect of a big infrastructure bill going in place,” said Schroeder.

 

He cited PACCAR as a truck OEM that is investing in electric Class 8 trucks. He also mentioned Nikola and Thor, now known as XOS Trucks, as companies that are “getting into the action.

“The torque on these vehicles can be different” than the torque generated by internal combustion engine-driven rigs, he said. “That means different characteristics that tiremakers will have to deal with. It’s something we are watching very closely.”

Schroeder also addressed federal investment in infrastructure during his presentation. Large-scale investment “will be a big boon for the construction industry” 

Companies “will require raw materials and more equipment to move and they will have to be moved by truck. And this is something that can last for a decade or more. 

“I’m excited about the prospect of a big infrastructure bill going in place,” he said. (Click here for more information about possible infrastructure funding and investment.)

Schroeder touched on the potential impact of continued - or even extended - tariffs on medium truck tires made in China. (According to MTD’s recently published 2021 Facts Issue, an estimated1.1 million medium truck tires were shipped from China to the U.S. during 2020 - a 62% decline from 2019 levels.)

“If it goes the route of more capacity being built in the U.S., that’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. “We’ll see how this all plays out. In a year or two, things could be different.”

K&M Tire's all-virtual conference, "Keep On Rollin'," runs through Thursday, Jan. 21.

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