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          COMPANY NEWS
           Kingpin Sales Director Debbie Cartwright
 Car Tyre Retreading Kingpins
With the exception of a couple of “taxi tyre” retreaders, Kingpin remains as the last of the UK car tyre retreaders. This family business is entering its fifth decade and whilst its competitors have fallen foul of hard times, Kingpin continues to develop and invest. Retreading Business has visited Kingpin and discussed its operations in the past. However, we believed that the time was right to meet again with this unique company that has held off competition from international retreaders and Chinese tyre manufacturers alike.
With the flood of imports, Retreading Business asked Sales Director, Debbie Cartwright, daughter of founder Jack Crangle, how Kingpin were dealing with the challenge?
“There has been no easy answer, some of the decisions that we have had to make have been difficult, but the essence of our current policy is to cut our cloth to suit. We have reduced operating costs, cut overtime, arranged the best possible deals we can on supplies that include a good deal on the electricity supply. It has not been easy, and the challenges remain. There is no end to the supply of budget tyres from China, or the import of retreads from abroad. So, we have to keep our costs tight. “Our aim is at the moment to hold our ground and stay in the market. We have a very good reputation now, and a strong base of loyal customers. The signs are positive for the future. We just need to try and find the right products and the right markets.”
Asked about imported retreads, Mrs. Cartwright had two views. On some of the better quality products, particularly in niche markets such as 4x4 tyres, Kingpin retained an advantage in that allowing for parity on performance and quality, Kingpin could offer its tyres with a price advantage for both the retailer and consumer. That price advantage matched with the fact that Kingpin can sell every 4x4 tyre they manufacture suggests that if the demand for 4x4 casings can be met, that there is still room for expansion in the 4x4 retread sector for Kingpin. In fact, one of txhe latest developments is a new 18 inch SUV tyre from Kingpin, which is being met with some enthusiasm by the market.
On some of the lower quality products, there simply was no way that Kingpin could compete on price, but she did believe that ultimately quality would win the day for Kingpin. “We have had challenges in some areas from eastern European importers offering retreads at prices we simply cannot match, but the retailers are coming back to us when they have discovered that the quality is not so good and they have problems with delivery, with faults and general quality.”
One of the stories that Retreading Business used to hear was that in the good old days there was the 155/55R13 and that tyre size accounted for the majority of the retread tyre market. However, today there are so many hundreds of different tyre sizes and patterns and that no retreader could possibly hope to match every required size. So, how does Kingpin match production to demand? How does a family business manage to ensure that it is supplying the key sizes to the market?
“Our regular outlets are our link to the consumer, these are the people who sell tyres and they know what the popular sizes are. So, we are led by the market. We make the sizes and patterns that the market is asking for. We can do small runs, but if we get an order for perhaps eight of a given size outside the norm, we will hold that order until we have enough to justify the work.”
Kingpin also does some truck tyre retreading, but Debbie Cartwright explained that this was not the company’s main focus. “We do a few hot and cold retreads for our regular clients. Casings are not generally an issue as we operate on a client’s own casing basis, one in, one out. We are a smaller
operation and at the moment we have no intention of going out and

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