Continental Has ‘Big Aspirations’ for Retreading

April 5, 2024

Continental Tire the Americas LLC is ramping up investment in its United States retreading business. 

“We have big aspirations going forward,” Shaun Uys, vice president, truck tires, U.S., Continental, said during a recent event at the company’s new Retread Solutions Development Center in Rock Hill, S.C. 

That includes signing more independent retreaders to supplement Continental’s 30 company-owned Best Drive locations. 

Uys told attendees Continental believes that “if you’re not in the retreading business, you’re not a real premium player. 

“Our main growth focus is independent dealers. It’s not going to be a focus on our company-owned shops. We’ll go there if we have to. But by far, our preference is to go with independent operators.” 

Retreading is a critical component of Continental’s Conti 360-Degree Solutions program for trucking fleets, which also includes the firm’s digital ContiConnectLive tire monitoring system, embedded tire sensors and other offerings, according to Uys. 

“We have our three brands in the new tire market – the Continental brand, the General brand and the Ameristeel brand. And we offer Continental tread rubber in three different tiers.” 

Continental sources precure tread rubber from its Mount Vernon, Ill., plant, plus a Continental-owned facility in Mexico. 

Uys told MTD that Continental has been systematically investing in a number of initiatives to prepare for its current push. 

“We’ve taken time to mature (Continental’s retread) processes. We also needed the software to be developed in order to run shops. We’ve invested in our capacity of precure treads. We’ve invested in capacity of cushion gum manufacturing.” 

He added that ongoing investment at Continental’s medium truck tire manufacturing plant in Clinton, Miss., which opened in 2020, has provided “new tire capacity to match the retread capacity we’ve managed to build up over time. 

“I think our retread program is really, really competitive,” he said. “We have great software, We have a great process. We also have a couple of proprietary things that will be coming. And we’ve made great strides with fleets.  

“Before COVID-19, you had a lot of fleets that were single-source" when it came to tire and retread supply. “That has changed. We’re in a really good place when (a fleet) wants to diversify from a single source. We have a great original equipment presence that’s growing. The U.S. market, as a whole, is very strategic for us and we’ve been given a lot of resources.” 

Among those resources is Continental’s new Retread Solutions Development Center, which John Cox, head of retread, truck tire, the Americas, said represents “a significant development in our future.” 

The facility will be used for retread machine and process optimization, product research and development, technician training and customer tours, he explained.  

“As we deploy new technology, we’ll bring customers in” to the center, Cox told MTD. “We will be doing test builds for new products. Whenever we develop a new tire, the same effort goes into the retread.” 

The center will play an important role in Continental’s efforts to “make a compelling business case” for the company’s retreading products and system and “to show what the Continental difference is.  

“We’re a small player in the market, but I think that’s where the opportunities are,” said Cox, who added that he believes the U.S. retread market “is primed for disruption. And that comes from what we’re doing here, what we’re doing with our R&D and all of the other (things) we’re putting in place. 

“We’re 100% invested in retreading,” he added. “And we really believe in what we’re doing. The sky’s the limit.” 

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.