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The Chinese Manufactured Tires Are Here, Maybe It’s Not So Bad

My opinion is tires are round, black and made of rubber. They are usually supported by a strong servicing dealer with a solid, if not always visible, brand name, and measure their costs by the 32nd.

Although I am sure that there are some marginal qualities to some no name, unrecognized imported tires, maybe there is a place for cost-effective tires when there are minimal concerns for retreadability.

Ten years ago, Double Coin and a few others entered the market and we had many of the same negative quality comments. Many resident tire experts touted that the tires were junk, unsafe and no good, and that imported Chinese tires were a problem.

Hindsight being 20/20, that decision to try some proved a strong alternative to rising tires costs when survival for some fleets was precarious. Tire cost became a choice of a different direction for maintenance shops, alarming Tier 1 tire manufacturers who needed to understand that real choices were here.

This is just the evolution of tires, the price-choice revolution. At the end of the day, it is about total vehicle cost. Tires are just the current target because they represent low hanging fruit.

Some red apples have worms but you can always carve out the impurities.

In my experience, it is more about the tire maintenance programs as opposed to the choice of tires or recaps. We blame the retread, but forget all the debris on the roadways that cause air to escape and starting the failure process.

For those who remember, the Pirelli truck tire imports in the late 60s sparked higher-quality U.S. tire radials. Price and quality drove the change and ensuing radial tire growth. Italy and France then, China today. Tomorrow, it might be India. Same story, different day.

Those managers on the leading edge of trial and error help the industry get better. Inside the efforts of all to find penny margins, we searched for something better. In an effort to find penny margins, manufactures take out costs, a perfect collision course.

It caused us to defect from what we knew were the best tires to use, except in the efforts to find a cost-effective choice, the tire manufacturers priced themselves out of the loyalty box. Some of us found alternatives and our choices of competitive products have all improved; some from new entries entering the market and some from old standbys losing market share and trying to get back what was lost - a loyal customer.

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