Demand grows for remolded tires for commercial vehicles

Bonn. Remolded truck tires are supposedly just as durable as the originals -- but significantly cheaper. Demand for them is growing.

"The market for recapped tires will continue to grow in 2004," said Peter Huelzer, managing director at the German federal tire trade association. In 2003, remolded truck tires had a German market share of approximately 50 percent, with sales of 1.23 million.In comparison, only 1.5 million of the 39.1 million passenger car tires sold in the aftermarket were remolded.

Huelzer believes that the main reason for the low demand for remolded car tires is bad marketing. He said manufacturers do not communicate the advantages of recapped tires sufficiently.

Making remolded tires requires only 30 percent of the energy used in making new ones, he says. And, depending on the size, the price is 30 percent to 45 percent below that of a new tire.

The market for remolded truck tires is far more robust because of the cost pressure on trucking firms.

New standards for recapped tires that take effect next year may pump life into the remolded-tire market. But until then, many used tires face an undistinguished end: Most of the 85 million tires that come off German vehicles each year are either burned or recycled into such things as car floor mats.

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