ERJ staff report (TB)
Bruce Davis, Tire Business staff
Akron, Ohio — The expiration last September of the three-year run of elevated tariffs on Chinese passenger and light truck tires triggered an immediate resurgence in shipments of consumer tires to the US from China and has spawned a bevy of new brands and companies marketing them.
That's the upshot of Tire Business' annual analysis of the tire branding scene in North America in 2013.
The end of the elevated US tariffs last year resulted in a resurgence of shipments in the fourth quarter, pushing imports of passenger tires from China for the year up 32 percent over 2011 to a near-record 29.4 million units.
The trend has continued into 2013, with passenger tire imports from China jumping 70-plus percent in the first quarter over the 2012 period to more than 9 million units, or an annualized rate of about 36 million units.
This stunning level of growth contrasts with the industry's overall growth prospects for 2013 and beyond. The latest Rubber Manufacturers Association forecast projects replacement market growth this year of only about 1 million units, or 0.4 percent, to 192 million units.
Should Chinese imports continue at the pace seen in the past two quarters, Chinese tires would represent roughly 18 percent of the US aftermarket this year — up from 15 percent last year, when overall aftermarket shipments fell nearly 2 percent to just shy of 191 million units.
Import brands already control an estimated 26 percent of the US replacement passenger tire market and 21 percent of the light truck tire aftermarket, while private brands are at 9 and 11 percent, respectively.
Tire Business has determined that of the 350-plus tire brands available to US consumers, roughly 50—or one in seven—are owned/controlled by Chinese tire makers or trading companies and another 100-plus are private brands produced entirely or predominantly in China.
Even the major tire makers with US manufacturing are sourcing a percentage of their tires from China, either from sister companies or via contract manufacturing.
The full version of this story appears on our sister publication Tire Business.
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Article from Tire Business