Integrations, acquisitions, expanded distribution and continued investment were hallmarks of the domestic retread industry in 2008. Here's a special look at the biggest retread news stories of the year.
January: Marangoni Tread North America Inc. (MTNA) established a new sales region in the central part of the United States, which brought its total number of U.S. sales regions to four.
April: Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) combined its truck and bus tire sales and marketing groups with Bridgestone Bandag LLC's North American retread operations to form a new division called Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions (BBTS). BFNT also announced that Bridgestone's GCR Tire Centers, as well as the company's White Tire stores, would unite with Bandag's Tire Distribution Systems Inc. chain.
May: Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. (MRTI) signed Scarborough, Maine-based New England Truck Tire Centers Inc., giving MRTI 76 plants in North America... Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., the country's largest independently owned and operated retreader, gained a retread plant in Idaho through its acquisition of D&D Tire Inc. in Fernley, Nev.
September: MTNA signed its 27th RINGtread licensee, Van Kleeck's Tire of Hudson, N.Y... Bridgestone Firestone Off Road Co. took over the sales, marketing and distribution of BBTS' Continuum OTR tread brand in North America... China Manufacturers Alliance LLC made retread specifications for its Double Coin truck and bus tires available for the first time.
November: Michelin's Oliver subsidiary gained a new plant when Florence, Ky.-based Retread America opened a new facility.
December: MTNA produced its one millionth RINGtread at its Madison, Tenn., plant... BBTS announced plans to lay off 60 employees in response to lower demand for truck tires and retreads. BBTS also revealed it will close its Oncor retread plant on Jan. 31, 2009.
Independent retreaders continued to invest in their operations during 2008. Among them, Allen Park, Mich.-based Belle Tire Distributors opened a new plant in the greater Detroit area, and a number of other companies -- including Deland, Fla.-based Boulevard Tire, Little Rock, Ark.-based Looney's Tire Service and Edgemont, S.D.-based TreadWright Inc. -- announced the addition of new equipment.
The top 10 retreaders in the U.S. during 2008 were (in descending order, starting with the largest): Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems LLC, Tire Centers LLC, Purcell Tire, Southern Tire Mart, Best One Group, Les Schwab Tire Centers, Northwest Retreaders Inc., McCarthy Tire Service (its first time in the top 10), BFS Retail & Commercial Operations LLC and Snider Tire Inc.