A new pain point with strong parallels to the ill-fated pink batts scheme is just beginning to emerge in the Australian truck and trailer sector, according to a longstanding independent tyre expert.
Mr Brad Bearman, a second generation tyre specialist and Managing Director of Bears Tyres, says the new practice of using cheap brand Chinese tyres to increase profits on truck-trailer sales is a setback the industry doesn’t need.
Some trailer manufacturers have opted for cheaper tyres to beat industry competition, thus moving away from the long held practice of using good name brand tyres and rims.
In addition, it is known to Mr Bearman that at least one major trailer manufacturer is now selling cheap China brand tyres as a standalone item directly from its spare parts division and the prices it is charging have no realistic profit margins.
Selling them that cheap is cutting the highly experienced tyre dealers out of the market and potentially leading to a saturation of poor-performance tyres on Australian roads, says Mr Bearman.
“Although some of their trailer customers would specify cheap tyres, there are those who aren’t aware they are getting cheaper tyres on their newly built trailers,” said Mr Bearman.
“It works for the manufacturer as it brings down the sale cost, but the customer is actually going backwards because they will get much shorter lifespan than you would with established brand tyres.”
“Trailer manufacturers build trailers – they don’t know anything about tyres and should not be selling them or fitting them without experienced advice because it will impact their own clients and wreck the tyre industry,” said Mr Bearman.
Bears Tyres is the only truly independent tyre management company in Australia. Bears Tyre Tracker is the world’s only software-based tyre tracker and management system which logs distances, creates rotation schedules, and gives intensely accurate cost breakdowns for each tyre and more.
“I’ll tell you exactly what the other companies won’t,” says Mr Bearman, “Because we are completely independent and have decades of experience across two generations.”
“Tyres are not commodities like a pack of steak knives thrown in as a token sweetener to get a deal across the line.”
“They are there to provide safety, longevity, predictability, performance and a measurable return like all business assets should.”
“Anyone can get their hands on these cheap China-brand tyres, thus creating problems within the tyre community.”
“These upstart dealers generally prostitute the market and end up making nothing and exiting with their tails between their legs.”
“If the Australian transport sector is not careful and doesn’t clamp down on this practice, soon everyone will become a tyre seller with in-house fitters that have no idea about overall maintenance and quality control.”
In doing so, the trailer manufacturing sector, according to Mr Bearman, is passing onto the customer a product which now carries many hidden liabilities.
Cheap tyres manufactured in China have lower performance tolerances and short lifecycle compared to top name brands.
“Anyone can get tyres and sell them, so everyone seems to think they can become a tyre person.”
“This is exactly the mentality which swamped the Federal pink batts scheme and turned it into an amateur free-for-all leading to all sorts of quality lapses, safety complications and fatalities.”
“Market cannibalisation always creates a huge drop in quality and standards and this will be no different unless we bring professionalism back into the mix.”
“Remember it’s not what you pay for a tyre, it’s what you get out of it.”
“Ultimately the tyre is an investment and if you have the right tyres, properly managed, you will maximise their value to your business.”