Following the Latin American and Caribbean Tyre Expo in Panama, we were able to talk closely with Mexican tread rubber manufacturer Hules Banda (Bandamatic), who were able to give us their views on prospects for the retreading market in the six Central American markets of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.
Currently, There are around 36 retread plants in Central America, 9 in Honduras, 8 in Costa Rica, 7 each in El Salvador and Guatemala and 5 in Nicaragua. These account for around 350,000 units per annum across the region. However, according to Hules Banda, the market varies considerably between the various Central American countries, with the retreading index fluctuating from around 0.5 in Guatemala and Costa Rica to less than 0.2 in El Salvador and Nicaragua – Honduras and Panama lie somewhere in between. The whole region, however languishes some way behind Mexico, which currently has a retread index of nearly 0.6.
According to Hules Banda the future of the retreading industry in Central America will depend on two key factors. The first of these is the growth of well-established transport companies who understand the importance of the good $/Km balance offered by formal retreading companies.
At the same time, the fluctuation of the prices of Chinese and used tyres as well as currency fluctuations will also have a key role to play. The import of used tyres (sometimes already retreaded in Asia) is an important factor in El Salvador and Honduras mainly.
According to Hules Banda, there is very little prospect of Central American goverments making policy changes in favour of retreading.