London - With the latest wave of financial results now coming through from major tire makers, a far more mixed picture is emerging for the sector than just three months ago.
In Europe, this trend was previously signalled by the latest figures from the ETRMA: a flat rate of growth in the third quarter sales ending a run of strong growth since the beginning of the year.
Likewise, in company results for the three months to 30 Sept, earlier positivity has given way to news of declines in sales, earnings and/or full-year projections – most notably, to date, at Michelin.
On the other hand, Goodyear has managed to achieve record operating earnings despite declines in sales volumes and in other measures profitability.
More impressively, perhaps, Hankook went right against the grain: turning around declines earlier this year into solid growth in sales and earnings – making new in-roads into the premium end of the market in the process
But ERJ's star performer badge this week goes to Nokian Tyres, for the way it seems to be containing the impact of the Ukraine crisis on its key markets in Russia and the CIS.
As president and CEO Ari Lehtoranta, pointed out Nokian had reached the same sales volume as in the first nine months of 2013 and, excluding Russia and CIS, its profitability had improved.
“Thanks to the declining raw material cost, improved productivity and running a tight ship, our profitability remained good, Lehtoranta commented.
So while the headline figures point to decline this year, Nokian could well be one of the more robust performers in what will be a challenging market for all tire makers in 2015.