By Patrick Raleigh, ERJ On-line news editor
Vitry-sur-Seine, France-The European market for new and replacement tyres grew in all segments during 2003, according to French industry group SNCP (Syndicat National du Caoutchouc et des Polymers).
Growth was strongest in the 4X4 vehicle tyre sector, where sales grew by 14.0 percent to 5.4 million, according to SNCP's analysis of sales in the European Union, plus Switzerland and Norway.
European demand for passenger car tyres grew 4.7 percent to 152.4 milllion, while light truck sales rose 4 percent to 11.5 million. The heavy vehicle sector accounted for 9.3 million units, 2.3 percent higher than in 2002, the French group also reported 15 Jan.
The French market showed particular resilience last year, given that the country's economy was in near recession, the group noted. Sales for 4X4 tyres grew 17.1 percent to 625 000 units, while light truck tyre sales advanced 7 percent to 1.9 million, it said.
French sales of passenger car tyre grew 4.7 percent to 26.9 million, though heavy truck tyre sales increased by just 0.8 percent to 1.1 million, according to SNCP's analysis.