Perfect storm of challenges could leave Europe open to major rise in imports from overseas car and truck tire producers
Estoril, Portugal - The EU tire industry is facing a potentially sharp rise in low-cost tire imports, adding to challenges around sky-high production costs and increasing pressure on consumer spending-power as the bloc edges towards recession.
That’s according to Robert Simmons, managing director, LMC, speaking at the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) AGM, held 12-15 Sept in Estoril, Portugal.
Europe has already seen an increasing trend towards the import of lower-cost tires, Simmons set out in a paper titled ‘Covid-19, Inflation, and recession: The changing nature of the tire market’.
Today, he said, around half of all light vehicle (LV) tires on roads in the EU are imports, with truck tires just slightly less – a trend that is likely to accelerate with tire prices now increasing across the board.
Now, with increased fuel prices and falling income, hard-pressed EU consumers are more likely to look for cheaper tires – and not only lower quality and smaller rim-sized products
“It is not just low-quality tires anymore, it is also the more premium tires that have low price imports supporting those markets,” said Simmons.
“Over time, the quality of those low-cost tires has improved, and you are seeing more high-specification tires coming in from emerging markets...
Read the full article in the September/October issue of European Rubber Journal magazine.