OEM & SUPPLIER NEWS AND
TRENDS BY JACK ROBERTS
Continental invests in Mexico
tread rubber plant
ontinental Tire the Americas’ commercial vehicle tire unit
announced a multimillion-dollar investment in its central Mexico
tread rubber plant because of increased demand for its ContiLifeCycle
retreading solution throughout the Americas. The investment, which is
lull drivers to sleep behind the
wheel. It wasn’t long before laws
were proposed across the country banning the use of radios
On the other side of the argument – not surprisingly – was the
Radio Manufacturers Association, which contended
that radios not only kept sleepy drivers awake but also
were crucial in warning travelers about bad weather
and poor road conditions.
Today, full-blown entertainment systems are a key
selling point for new cars, and multitudes of truck
drivers can’t imagine putting eight hours behind the
wheel without having Willie, Waylon, Skynyrd and
Hank along for the ride.
I’ve said before that ﬂeets won’t have much wiggle
room when it comes to cell phone bans while driving.
Facts aside, when an accident involving a commercial
vehicle occurs, most of the driving public assumes
the truck driver is at fault. Having a driver on a cell
phone when an accident happens is a tough position
to defend in a courtroom.
On the other hand, real-time communication is
vital to today’s successful and proﬁtable ﬂeet operations. Cutting drivers completely out of the information loop doesn’t make good business sense.
My own feeling is that talking on a hands-free
phone while driving down the highway can’t possibly
be any larger a distraction than talking on a CB radio,
ﬁddling with a stereo system or looking for an address
on a GPS device.
The overriding concern for the trucking industry
always should be safety, and I believe technology easily can deliver a safe, effective hands-free telephone
device that will make truckers
more productive and safer on
the road. But will the public accept that compromise?
Opponents of the
first car radios
argued the devices
and that tuning the
radio required drivers to take their
eyes off the road.
occurring more than a year earlier than anticipated, includes a capacity
increase by adding an additional curing and finishing line and doubles
the size of the manufacturing facility to add space for both raw materials
and work in progress.
Production of Continental’s ContiTread flat treads has been tripled,
says Paul Williams, executive vice president. “This expansion allows us to
accommodate the growing need for retreaded truck tires in our current
markets, and to comfortably expand as we reach even further across the
Americas,” Williams said. “The result is
that Continental now has the ability to
cap more than 1.2 million truck tires
annually with our ContiTreads.”
The expanded facility will have a
footprint of more than 4,000 square meters. An additional expansion
already has been planned for 2014, which involves yet another curing
and finishing line to be installed, says Williams, who attributes the growth
of the ContiLifeCycle business to the need for fleets in the Americas to
have an economical lifetime truck tire solution, and also to the high level of
interest from dealers in each country.
Continental currently is offering 14 ContiTread tread patterns in
various widths and depths, and the portfolio continues to expand, said
ContiLifeCycle manager John Barnes.
Rush Rodeo crowns top techs
ush Truck Centers topped
Rusty Rush, chief executive officer.
off its sixth annual tech-
“More than ever, we are a service
nician challenge in San Antonio,
company,” Rush emphasized,
pitting Rush truck technicians
speaking to technician finalists.
from across the country against
“Service is what drives this com-
one another in a variety of events,
pany, and it’s your efforts and com-
including OE engine, refuse,
mitments that make that a reality.”
medium-duty and heavy-duty
Michael Willoughby of Oklahoma
competitions. The Rush event has
City took home $12,000 in total
grown steadily over the past six
winnings as Medium Duty champ,
years, with Rush business partners
and Erick Lincoln of Albuquerque,
contributing more than $6 million
N.M., scored total prize winnings of
during that time to help the com-
$10,000 as Heavy Duty champion.
pany recognize its technicians.
Other top winners included Mark
As the trucking industry has
Jones of Denver, Refuse; Sherman
evolved to navigate the economic
JACK ROBERTS is Executive Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. E-mail jroberts@
ccjmagazine.com or call (205) 248-1358.
Brack of Austin, Texas, Cummins;
downturn, so too has the business
and Glenn Booth of Nashville, Tenn.,
model for Rush Truck Centers, said
COMMERCIAL CARRIER JOURNAL | FEBRUARY 2012