Tiremakers Say Dealers Will Continue to Play Key Role in OTR Tire Service

Feb. 24, 2023

Representatives from four manufacturers shared their thoughts on the role tire dealers will continue to play in servicing OTR tires and end users as part of a panel discussion during the 2023 Tire Industry Association (TIA) OTR Tire Conference.

The TIA OTR Tire Conference took place Feb. 22-24 in Tucson, Ariz.

When asked by panel moderator and MTD Publisher Greg Smith to comment on the role that dealers will continue to play as mining companies get bigger, Matt Futrelle, head of business field earthmoving, head of sales and marketing Americas, commercial specialty tires, Continental Tire the Americas LLC, said that his company has "dealers involved in every part" of the after-sales service process.

"I would echo the same thing," said Chris Rhoades, vice president, OTDC, BKT USA Inc. "Our model is to partner with the dealer, who has access to the mines and is there every day."

Eric Matson, global field engineer, off-road tires, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., cited service as being one of the pillars of his company's Total Mobility Solution concept. "The middle pillar is serviceThat’s all from our dealers. Our plan is to continue to use our dealers to provide that critical pillar."

"The reality is that the service provided (by dealers) is the critical function," said Bruce Besancon, vice president of marketing, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires Inc.

Panelists also were asked to provide an update on what their employers are doing to incorporate recycled rubber into compounds and if end users are applying pressure in this area.

"The crumb rubber that comes off a used tire... the properties of that rubber have already been changed," said Matson. "There are ways to reuse that rubber and build it back into the next tire."

"The overall role of sustainability in our business is one of the most critical roles we're going to have to deal with," said Besancon. "Do we look at recycled materials in our factories? We sure do. A lot of that is recycling, (which) we already have at that factory as a first step. Are we hearing from end users right now? It’s not a huge voiceBut we know there’s a lot going on in Europe," which "tends to be a lot more vocal about things like this."

End users are asking for "transparency," said Futrelle. "They are having to report to their boards, so they come to us and ask, 'What percentage of recycled (materials) are you using?'"

Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and the use of nitrogen and other additives also were topics of conversation during the panel discussion.

Yokohama Off-Highway currently does not offer TPMS, "but we believe it's a great initiative," said Besancon. "On nitrogen, we will support anything that one, adds stability of inflation to the tire - let's get the right inflation pressure - and second, let's keep that pressure vessel intact."

Matson said Goodyear offers "a magnet mount sensor that mounts on the rim. It’s 100% liquid-proof." 

"I think we can all agree that manufacturers and suppliers in our industry are doing extraordinary things with their products and services (while) looking at new technologies," Smith concluded. 

For additional 2023 TIA OTR Tire Conference coverage, click  here.

About the Author

Mike Manges | Editor

Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s editor. A 25-year tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward. Before rejoining MTD in September 2019, he held corporate communications positions at two Fortune 500 companies and served as MTD’s senior editor from 2000 to 2010.