Chinese tyre tax gives retread industry a boost says Bridgestone
A tax imposed on imported budget Chinese tyres has dramatically reduced the amount of cheap rubber coming into the UK, giving the European retread industry a much-needed boost.
“It’s definitely been good news for retreads, but it hasn’t been quite as positive as we had hoped,” explained Terry Salter, Bridgestone’s truck product manager of Northern Europe. “Unfortunately people have got out of the habit of buying retreads.”
While the Chinese were dumping cheap tyres in Europe, and hauliers changed their buying habits, so 25% of European retread factories were forced to close. But Bridgestone, which owns the Bandag retread brand, stayed committed.
“We firmly believe that it is the right thing, not only from a financial point of view, but for society and the environment too,” declared Salter. "Every truck tyre contains 70kg of steel rubber and oil, and when a tyre is retreaded, most of these materials are used again. It’s time to start re-educating people.".
Praise from owner for zero-downtime Mercedes-Benz Actros after reaching 750,000km
Owner-driver Rob Bill has praised the Mercedes-Benz Actros BigSpace tractor he bought new in 2014. Bill said: “Three quarters of a million km and not a day lost; not a single breakdown, no brake pads. Who knew Mercedes-Benz would be such a great move?”
Working as a subcontractor for Suffolk haulier Bartrums, Bill was persuaded to look at an Actros by a contact in the firm. The 2445 Actros features a small-wheeled mid-lift axle and is the first truck he purchased from new.
Having previously driven Swedish brands, Bill often felt short-changed. However, with the Mercedes, he said: “It’s the most comfortable vehicle I’ve driven and lived in.”
As well as the red exterior paint scheme, the Actros wears side skirts and a Hatcher air management kit, a chrome-trimmed grille and sun visor, lightbars and wheel trims. Since its acquisition, the Mercedes has pulled a variety of products in curtainside trailers between 38-tonne and 44-tonne GCW.
The purchase of the Actros was made easier by the East Anglia dealer, Orwell Truck & Van, as Bill was quickly sold by its demonstrator. “After three days the fuel consumption figures looked impressive, and a couple of days later, I asked the dealer to sort me out a price.”
Five years on, despite being told the choice to buy the Actros would “be a move I’d regret”, Bill described the Mercedes as a fantastic truck, which consistently returns between 9.5mpg and 10mpg – an improvement on his previous truck.