There are several ongoing developments that all truck tire dealers should pay close attention to. These include “smart” commercial tires that have grown from being science fiction to a dawning reality. According to Gary Schroeder, the executive director of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.‘s commercial tire business, these developments are being evaluated and may be with us fully in a few years.
The big question is, how big will they get over time? There are several companies that are seriously getting into the action. These include Nikola and Thor which are also known as XOS Trucks and PACCAR. PACCAR is a truck OEM that is making huge investments in electric Class 8 trucks.
Adding to this, Schroeder said that the torque on electric trucks can be different when compared to that generated by internal combustion engine rigs. This is something that tire manufacturers will need to note as they design tires for these particular vehicles.
Schroeder also believes that there will be a huge amount of federal investment in infrastructure. The construction industry will experience a major boom. Companies will need raw materials and equipment moved around. This will be done with the help of trucks. It is something that might last for longer than a decade.
He also touched on the impact of extended and continued tariffs on medium truck tires made in China. In 2020, an estimated 1.1 million medium truck tires were shipped to the U.S. from China. This is according to the recently published Facts Issue by MTD. The report showed a 62% decrease when compared to 2019.
“If it goes the route of more capacity being built in the U.S., that’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. “We’ll see how this all plays out. In a year or two, things could be different.”