Commercial tires are perhaps the most essential component of any successful trucking fleet. Managing commercial tire costs is a constant battle for fleet managers — who can be aided by an understanding the market to better predict their tire expenses.
When looking at the current state of the commercial tire industry, it helps to gain perspective from the past 12 months. There have been many ups and downs for the industry over the past year, many of which are attributable to the ongoing trade battle between the U.S. and China. While those in the auto industry who have not prepared for this difficult trade climate have been negatively impacted, experts believe that the situation could provide second-tier commercial tire manufacturers the opportunity to gain strength in the marketplace.
For fleets that might normally purchase new tires made in China, tariffs on Chinese imports have increased commercial truck tire costs as they’re now forced to purchase original equipment (OE) alternatives. Because some commercial fleets attempted to prepare for this by stocking up on new Chinese tires prior to tariff implementation, this has also had a negative impact on retreading sales in 2019.
Despite these factors, Class 8 manufacturers have seen record sales from the beginning of 2018 through the first half of 2019. However, this growth is not expected to last long as shifts in demand are forecast to change dramatically in coming months.
According to experts, there are clear indications that 2020 could see decreased OE market activity. Not only is the commercial OE market expected to go down, but the replacement industry is also projected to take a hit, with forecasts showing single-digit growth compared to previous years. While Class 8 tires drove record sales between 2018 and 2019, shifts in demand will also cause a sharp decline in this segment.
Additionally, trends towards electrification of delivery trucks and vans are impacting the way in which these fleets plan for their commercial tire requirements. These vehicles have quicker power off the line than diesel trucks, requiring tires that are capable of handling higher torque. Conventional tires are not ideal for these applications, causing fleets to seek out alternative solutions.
However, as commercial product demands increase, commercial tires in the 16-, 17.5-, and 19.5-inch diameter categories are expected to grow. Class 1-2 and 3-6 commercial tire sales are also expected to perform well in 2020 as e-commerce and last-mile deliveries continue to drive growth.
As fleet managers plan ahead for their commercial tire needs, one way they can save on expenses is by partnering with a provider like STTC. Strategic partnerships like this are designed to reduce costs for fleets while providing them access to incredible resources, such as roadside assistance and preventative tire maintenance programs.
At STTC, our team is staffed with the industry’s finest tire technicians with our online tire selection featuring the finest commercial tire brands and products. With available roadside assistance contracts and preventative maintenance programs, we’ll help your fleet stay on the road for longer with high-quality products and services you can trust.
No matter what the commercial tire market may bring, always be prepared with STTC by your side. Contact our team online to find out how we can help you better manage your commercial tires today!