Tire manufacturers will like the new tariff in town

Bob Ulrich
Posted on August 7, 2014

Will there or won't there be an additional tariff placed on consumer tire imports from China in 2015? Realistically, we won't know the answer to that until December.

The early signs are not positive for our industry. Or are they?

Not a single U.S.-based tire manufacturer or manufacturing subsidiary has come out for or against an additional tariff. I have talked with two who want a tariff. Based on the huge profits many of them turned from 2010-2012, I wouldn't be surprised if all of them are for the tariff.

I may be in the minority, but I am against an additional tariff of any amount for reasons I have written about before.

Back in 2009, the only tire makers that came out against the tariff were Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. and, through its domestic subsidiary Giti Tire (USA) Ltd., the Giti Tire Group.

A number of private branders also were vocal about their dislike of the tariff, among them TBC Corp., Del-Nat Tire Corp. and Hercules Tire & Rubber Co.

This time around, nary a peep.

At least I have an ally in Barry Steinberg, CEO of Direct Tire and Auto Service in Watertown, Mass. He, too -- on the record -- is definitely against it.

"Is it my imagination or are none of the tire manufacturers voicing any objection to this tariff insanity?" he asked me. "Now, I understand that the second and third tier players are probably ordering up the champagne in celebration, of having Uncle Sam make it a more level playing field. But how about the consumer?

"If the cost of making a tire in raw materials and freight are pretty close for all these guys, then maybe they need to look at either their overhead or their outrageous profit margins.

"This tariff will not produce one American job. Never has. Never will."

What are your thoughts about the tariff and tire manufacturers? Do you think they are for or against the tariff? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!

Related Topics: Barry Steinberg, Direct Tire, private brand tires, tariffs

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 7 )
  • See all comments
  • Jon

     | about 6 years ago

    Jeff is right on. No jobs will be created for American workers, and there will be massive price increases. There are no winners in this game.

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