Page 43 - RB-72-15-1
P. 43

           COMPANY NEWS
       taking on the major retreaders; that would take a considerable investment.”
There was a consideration that truck tyre retreading may hold some promise if there was a solution found for tyre labelling for the independent sector. There could be opportunities, but they were not, for the present, a priority.
So, where does Kingpin go to find new niche markets? Motorsport is
a clear option, it is a small niche market where participants use a considerably higher volume of tyres than any other sector, so lower cost and quality options are always being sought. With the facilities that Kingpin has available, the company can not only deliver sizes and patterns, but even a range of compounds. The advantage that Kingpin would have is that the company would be supplying from a UK plant, to a high quality standard that was repeatable, and there could be a quick turnaround. There is the possibility of direct supply to events and clubs, and of course the manufacturer could be available at the end of a telephone to answer any questions users might have – something perhaps not possible with an overseas supplier.
There are many possibilities and there are markets still to be exploited. Classic car enthusiasts are always looking for authentic tyres, and sometimes they are not so easy to find, or if they can be found they come at a premium. With mould sets going back over four decades available to Kingpin, this may be another market sector that the company could look at. Many classic car clubs are used to batch ordering mechanical components; some may be interested in original tyre patterns for period vehicles.
Cost savings also drove Kingpin to enter the recycling sector. The company produces about 20 tonnes of steel waste per week, and in good times that brings in a revenue, as does the rubber buffing and shred for Tyre Derived Fuel. The recycling sector, though, is volatile and in order for this to become a real asset to Kingpin the market needs to gain some stability, though, in the longer game, recycled rubber and steel will have a valuable role to play for any retreader.
The one challenge that seems to evade resolution, not only for Kingpin, but for the whole retread sector, is the idea that retreads are poor quality substitutes. This is a conception not always helped by the retailers who will push a budget Chinese tyre in preference to a quality retread. The costs and
benefits are not always understood by the consumer, and the larger margins that can be achieved with even cheap Chinese tyres are a challenge that the industr y can only counter through quality and promotion. “Our return rate is less than half of one per cent,” Says Cartwright, “that is better than most new tyre manufacturers can achieve. We have a lifetime product warranty, so if the tyre does have a manufacture related issue we will replace it. We don’t have to replace many tyres.
“The difficulty is, how do we promote the benefits of retreads? We can only do so much, but perhaps the industry needs to do more. This may be an area where the RMA might be able to take a lead.”
The Retreading Business visit to
Kingpin was concluded by a whistle-stop tour of the factory, where equipment old and new was fully engaged in producing tyres from car to truck. The TRM Black Dragon, busy building car tyres, whilst there was the background noise of buffers and skivers filling
the air with activity, at the same time the company’s recycling operation was in full swing dealing with those casings that didn’t make the grade. Nothing at Kingpin goes to waste. Every ounce of rubber, steel or textile has a value.
  The latest technology is used in building Kingpin tyres

   41   42   43   44   45