Fenatran - Showcase for the Brazilian Transport Sector
Retreading Business recently attended the 21st biennial edition of Fenatran in São Paulo, Brazil, to comprehend the directions of the freight transport market in the country and the consequences for the retreading market. The International Freight Transport Fair received more than sixty thousand visitors during its weeklong duration and, according to the exhibitors, was successful both as a showroom and as a place for doing business. As soon as we entered the building, it was possible to notice the return of the dominance of the major truck manufacturers. In the previous edition, remembered as the “implements’ fair" by some, only DAF and Volvo participated, now also Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Iveco, Peugeot, Scania and Volkswagen MAN made an effort to prepare new releases for the so-called “recovery fair”.
The numbers help to justify the optimism, as Brazil has practically doubled average daily sales of trucks between the first and second semester, and the trend towards 2018 is to maintain that steady pace of growth. In a new location and with a renovated team, the overall impression of the fair was hope for a second wind within the market. There were more than 450 brands present, 130 more than in the previous edition, in a modern and attractive infrastructure. Aligned with the fact that this is the largest fair of the segment in Latin America, the effort to present an event at the level of such continental importance was clear.
Representing the tyre sector were Continental, Pirelli and Goodyear, as well as Cantu and Magnum, leaving Vipal Rubber to represent the retread sector. Fernando Peruzzo, Continental retreading manager, commented: "The big point of the fair today is the recovery of the economy, but we also feel an effort towards technology”. Continental introduced a new tread for bus and truck applications, the ContiTread Hybrid HS3, and also brought a digital tyre monitoring tool called ContiConnect. Retreaders and fleet owners joined the Vipal booth, which served as a meeting place, business table and general networking location. This position was part of the company's strategy, which also involved the official launch of the Vipal Resolve digital relationship platform.
Among the main highlights of the fair for the national market, the e-Delivery electric trucks developed in Brazil by Volks caught the attention. It has Brazilian engineering and will be used from next year by the beverage giant Ambev, but will be available on the open market only in 2020. Capitalising on nostalgia, Mercedes-Benz launched a special vintage series of the Actros line in honour of the twenty-one editions of the fair. Scania and Volvo also presented classic machines. There was also a greater range of options for trucks and supplies for the off-road segment, due to the demand for permission for more cargo from the agricultural sector that was responded to by the National Traffic Council's resolution 663/2017. Finally, the semi-autonomous vehicle lines - and the truly autonomous Volvo’s VM Autonomous, which is in testing operation on a farm in the country - are a strong diagnosis of the market demand for the modernisation of the fleet and the embedded technologies. The expectation-turned-reality of access to digital fleet management services is a trend that will give all the conditions to allow a smarter use of the tyres and consequently offer a longer life cycle.
As a low point, it is possible to consider the sparse presence of exhibitors from the retread market. Without reaching a consensus, our interviewees' perception on this ranged from a lack of courage to invest in the moment of recovery of the fair to a concrete lack of cash to spend on actions that could not bring immediate results for business, reflecting the instability of the economy.
The chinese stands, always treated with a mix of distrust and disbelief on the part of their competitors, attracted some criticism and little movement. Most claim that the country is protected by anti-dumping policies, but it is worth remembering the recent chaos that Asian products have brought to Latin markets such as Chile, which no protectionist measures and imports practically 100% of its casings.