Setting the scene, Tony McHugh, sales and marketing director, truck & bus, Giti Tire, based in Northwich, UK, reported that there had been price realignments by many tire manufacturers over the last six months.
Citing feedback from both customers and dealers, the Giti executive, said: “Chinese [tires] in particular have gone up by around 20%. They are pushing their prices up because they have to and, obviously, operators are now looking again.”
Giti is among those benefiting from these developments, McHugh saying: “We have certainly seen an upturn in business in quarter one. The price difference now with Giti as a brand has closed, as it has with other brands as well.”
Mark Grace, marketing manager, Hankook Tyres UK Ltd, reported availability issues and prices increases, particularly affecting Chinese tires at the bottom end of the market.
Not all of the price rises have filtered through yet, noted Grace, suggesting that availability had been further impacted by a recent US decision not to impose tariffs on Chinese truck & bus tires.
“They have certainly advised of large price increases and we will see them coming through,” he said. “Reading between the lines, these tires have become harder to come by because of pricing, and people are now having to look for alternative products.”
According to the Hankook manager, the commercial vehicle tire market is growing at about 6% in the UK and 4% in Europe, driven principally by price and availability.
“The UK market is definitely seeing signs of improvement year-on-year,” said Grace adding that Hankook has been no 1 in the UK commercial vehicle tire market in terms of sales since 2014.