OTR Exec Looks at Market Opportunities - Tire Review Magazine

OTR Exec Looks at Market Opportunities

A featured speaker at last week’s TIA OTR Conference in Marco Island, Fla., Tim Easter, director of OTR sales for Yokohama Tire Corp., talked separately about what causes the OTR tire market to change so frequently and what the outlook is for 2014 and beyond.
Q: What are the contributing factors to the slowdown in the overall OTR tire market? 
Easter: The U.S. and global OTR tire market were very strong in 2012, but took a downturn in 2013, partially due to challenges in the coal-mining segment. Many factors came into play, including new government regulations, which increased the costs of mining. Power plants had to comply with the new regulations by putting in new scrubbers, which added to their cost to use coal. Another factor in the sluggish OTR tire market is the construction industry, which has been struggling for years.  The good news is we’ve seen a slight upturn in construction and we think it will continue to improve in 2014. Also, from the infrastructure standpoint, there’s more work to repair and build roads, which will help the industry.
Q: What are some of the trends that will affect the industry and Yokohama in 2014 and beyond? 
Easter: One trend is the size of mining equipment now being used, especially in the Eastern U.S. mines. The equipment seems to be getting smaller instead of bigger, because of the way coal is being mined today. There’s a lot less mountaintop removal and more contour-type mining. There are some definite trends that will affect our business and the products YTC is selling. For example, the market in Mexico is growing and we opened an office there in 2013. We look for that to be a big plus for us in 2014.
Q: Can you talk more about your radial tires?
Easter: Yokohama has built a reputation as the technology leader for the best bias products in the market. We want our customers to expect the same with our radial tires. At the upcoming ConExpo next month, we are excited to be launching our latest technology in OTR radial tire tread and design in the RL45 and RL51. The RL45 E-4 is made for articulated dump trucks and scrapers and the L-4 version is for front-end loaders. The RL45 is available in size 26.5R25 and is a super tough radial for extremely demanding applications. The RL51 L-5 application is designed for front-end loaders and graders, and is a resilient radial for high-cut uses. It offers incredible traction and stability and won’t sway under load, thanks to the advanced belt package. It comes in size 23.5R25. Our RT41 E-4 with a new CPUG (cut protective underground) tread compound for articulated dump trucks and scrapers. The CPUG compound is designed for underground usage and helps increase the life of the tire by offering protection from cuts, punctures and wear. It’s available in three sizes: 23.5R25, 26.5R25 and 29.5R25.
Q: It sounds like products will be a strategic part of your success. What else?
Easter: Our dealer base is the key to our business and we’ve always been a very strong supporter of our dealers. We’re expanding our sales force and technical group so we can have more time with our customers and find out how we can help grow their businesses via strong programs and products. We’re in this for the long-haul.

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