TRAC's Hochu Discusses Canadian Tire Market

May 1, 2023

MTD recently caught up with Carol Hochu, president and CEO of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), to discuss the Canadian tire market and TRAC's  activities.

MTD: During the 2023 Tire Industry Association (TIA) OTR Tire Conference, held this past February, you provided a high-level overview of the OTR tire market in Canada. Can you provide us with a similar overview of the passenger/light truck tire and commercial truck tire markets in Canada? How did they fare in 2022?

Hochu: Passenger tires were down 0.9% versus 2021, light truck was down 2.8% and TBR (shipments) were down 0.2%. I think that's a good signal of a return to normalization. But of course, as I talked about in my TIA presentation, there’s always a bit of uncertainty due to economic conditions. The jury is still out about whether or not there's going to be a recession.

MTD: What are some of the big initiatives that TRAC is tackling on behalf of its members and how are those efforts coming along?

Hochu: Part of TRAC’s DNA is to conduct opinion research and probe Canadian consumers about tires. Last fall, we conducted a winter campaign where we asked about winter tire uptake. As you know, that is a big market in Canada.

We have a new campaign focused on proper tire inflation and maintenance, which will launch on May 8. We make the link between proper tire pressure and fuel economy.

We have a couple of upcoming events that we’re excited about. We will be returning to one of our premier events, the Rubber Recycling Symposium, in early October in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The last one was planned for 2020, but was kiboshed because of COVID-19. This is always very well-attended and attracts people from Canada, the U.S. and beyond. It will focus on the latest trends in recycling and recovery of end-of-life tires.

There’s a real appetite for folks to get together.

We are also back on track to bring our Tire & Rubber Summit for tire manufacturers in 2024.We (also) launched last year an Industry Leadership Awards program. We just closed our nominations with an awards ceremony scheduled for June.

The work around sustainability and environmental protection continues to expand internationally. In terms of issues, TRAC has a long and successful history working in close partnership with the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) to ensure we have a consistent North American approach when it comes to issues facing tire producers.

For example, TRAC and USTMA recently made a joint submission to the California Energy Commission on their replacement tire (rolling resistance) framework. It was pages and pages long.

Last August, (Environment and Climate Change Canada) issued a challenge regarding solutions related to tire and road wear particles. Formal announcement was made earlier this week. 

At a more local level, waste (issues are) in the provincial domain. Every Canadian province has its own regulated tire recycling program. TRAC, in Ontario, suggested revisions to those regulations and those (came into play) last year. There is also an ongoing review of the tire recycling regulation and program in New Brunswick.

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.

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