OTR Industry: What to Expect from Manufacturers in 2018

OTR Industry: What to Expect from Manufacturers in 2018

OTR tire manufacturers set the stage for what’s to come in 2018 by highlighting their company’s new product releases and initiatives for the coming year at the Tire Industry Association’s OTR Conference outside of Jacksonville, Florida.

OTR manufacturers panel
Tire manufacturers outlined their company’s 2018 outlook and new products at the 2018 TIA OTR Conference manufacturer’s panel, led by Modern Tire Dealer publisher Greg Smith.

With much change happening in the tire industry, there’s much to look forward to in 2018.

And OTR tire manufacturers set the stage for what’s to come in 2018 by highlighting their company’s new product releases and initiatives for the coming year at the Tire Industry Association’s OTR Conference outside of Jacksonville, Florida.

Here’s a taste of what to expect:

Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

Rob Seibert, Bridgestone’s director of OTR marketing, said the company hopes to take the current upswing in the OTR market through 2018 and into 2019. However, he said the industry is evolving.

“Our customers and our dealers’ customers are expecting more out of their manufacturers now more than ever…,” he said. “Their focus on safety, productivity and profitability is higher than ever… we must evolve and find ways to use data-driven insights to create value for the customer… For us, along with our extensive network of dealer partners, we’re focused on delivering the value of the lowest total cost of ownership.”

Seibert cited Bridgestone’s new PressureStat TPMS software as a way the company has evolved to meet customers’ needs. The device provides on-board alerts to operators and connects with the company’s TreadStat software so that a customer can be alerted of any potential problems with a tire, which prevents larger costs of ownership down the road.

With 14 new Firestone VersaBuilt radial tires developed last year, Seibert said the company expects to add to that line in 2018.

Continental Tire the Americas

Shawn Rasey, Continental’s director of global business development, said while the industry is in a “better place,” Continental is “cautiously optimistic” heading into the future.

Rasey said he thinks increased demand in the sector can be attributed to pent-up demand for replacing equipment. One sector of the OTR industry where Continental has seen growth is in mining worldwide. He said the development of a U.S. infrastructure bill going on in Congress right now holds a promise of positive growth for the industry.

With a flurry of activity over the past and a half years, Continental will continue that into 2018, Rasey said. The company plans to finalize the release of its wide-base E3/L3 lineup and E4/L4 radial lineup, with some of those products are already in the market.

Coming up this year, Rasey said the company will release L5 slicks in larger sizes. The company is also finalizing its 20- to 25-inch L3 and L4 lineups for underground mining. Later this year, Rasey said Continental plans to release L5 bias tires in some key sizes to fill demand.

Maxam Tire North America, Inc.

Jimmy McDonnell, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, said as Maxam has gradually been incorporating into the North American market, it has seen positive growth.

This year, Maxam plans to release new products in existing product lines and expand their existing radial OTR line to have more options for L5s and L2s. McDonnell said the company also plans to bring its bias line for OTR and other products later in the year. In the future, the company also has sights on the giant OTR market.

“We’re expending a lot of our efforts today to develop ourselves in the giant OTR market. We’re making all the way up to 63-inch haulage tires. That’s one of the three main focuses on our business. The others are bringing radial OTR and solid OTR tires to the market.”

McDonnell said with the company’s fourth expansion of its Vietnam factory, it is investing in “additional capacities” including moving into OR placements and developing products for changes in wheel loader and articulated trucks in 65-series radials.

Nokian Tyres

Andrew Davis, Nokian regional sales manager for the Americas, said with strong economic performance in North and South America, Nokian is expecting an increase in demand in all segments.

Despite a new U.S. tariff on Canadian lumber, Davis said the company has seen strong forestry tires sales in North America. While being known for forestry tires, Nokian actually saw more growth and demand in their agricultural tire lines in 2017, which Davis said could lead into 2018.

Nokian has already added sizes to its CT flotation tire line, with the addition of 22.5-inch and 30.5-inch rim diameters. This year, Nokian will also add sizes in their tractor and off-road tires for industrial segments, including for its Hakkapeliitta TRI winter tire for tractors.

To support its growth in North American tire segments, Nokian continues the construction of its first U.S. factory in Tennessee with an effort to “grow but staying true to our core competencies and focus on products where we have unique strengths we can bring.”

Triangle Tire USA

Manny Cicero, Triangle Tire’s CEO, said although Triangle Tire USA was created 26 months ago, the company remains extremely bullish on the American OTR industry.

He said with the demand in heavy equipment rising, including in mining, Triangle is looking to fill its production capacity that has been under-utilized in the past.

The company has 14 new products coming on board in 2018 that includes eight new radials, mostly 25- and 35-inch with special attention to tires for articulated dump trucks. The company has four new bias tires ranging from 20- to 25-inch in development this year and will introduce two jumbo tires to the market. Triangle will also start a line of container handler tires with those coming available in 2019.

During his speech, Cicero highlighted the company’s R&D push.

“We’re being challenged to not just produce tires…. We think we produce a pretty good one but it’s to make that tire an integrated part of vehicle assembly and having it speak with the other vehicle parts (that’s the challenge),” he said. “We just this year made an initiative in R&D to make our tires smarter than they are today.”

Yokohama Tire Corp.

Bruce Besancon, Yokohama’s vice president of sales for off-the-road tires, said since mid-2017, Yokohama has seen an uptick in major OTR sectors including port, rail and intermodal. In 2018, he said he expects intermodal tire demand to increase.

After a few lulls in the construction segment, Besancon said Yokohama has seen a pretty steady increase and the same has held true for the mining sector.

“We’ve seen an increase in coal,” he said. “I believe that part of this due to the fact that the strong players in there have become stronger, and we’re seeing those people who are survivors becoming stronger.”

Yokohama will launch 11 new products this year and expand existing product lines. The company plans to increase its radial range and continue testing on other tires in the segment. Besancon said production will increase in their mining segment as well. Overall, Yokohama has plans to bring in more product to North America, with a predicted 20 percent increase of more product coming into the U.S.

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