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  they are nearly unusable. He attributed this to rising new tyre prices and scepticism towards the quality of Chinese tyres, which have flooded the Russian market. Despite replacing Western tyre brands with Chinese alter- natives in sectors like mining, concerns about quality per- sist. Podoinikov noted a general wariness towards Chinese tyres, given a longstanding preference for Western Europe- an, American, and Japanese brands. Over time, there’s been a noticeable shift, with some market players observing an increased interest in tyre retreading, particularly in central and northwest regions of European Russia. However, running on worn tyres remains prevalent in the cargo transport sector, as highlighted by Vladimir Matyagin, president of the Gruzavtotrans cargo carrier as- sociation. Matyagin described cost-cutting measures that carriers adopted, including using used tyres and operating without spare tyres, which poses a risk to road safety. He mentioned that carriers’ compliance with vehicle mainte- nance regulations could be higher, further exacerbating safety concerns. Despite the dominance of Chinese tyres, there remains a significant demand for Western brands, as explained by Maxim Kadakov, an independent tyre industry analyst. Kadakov emphasised the variable quality of Chinese tyres and the marked performance difference between these leading brands, particularly for winter tyres. He noted that safety-conscious consumers prefer brands like Michelin, Nokian Tires, Continental, and Pirelli. Amid these challenges, some retreading businesses are considering expansion. Complect Service, a Karelia-based plant, plans to increase its production by 50% and explore the possibility of expanding its operations across Russia, as stated by the regional Economy Development Ministry. This expansion reflects an optimistic outlook for the retreading industry despite the current shortage of suitable casings and the sector’s broader challenges. COUNTRY REPORT - RUSSIA   P.27 

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