Brussels – The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic slowdown in tire markets across Europe, the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) has reported.
In its latest quarterly analysis issued 16 April, ETRMA said member companies’ sales across all categories “dropped drastically” as Covid forced strict lockdown measures across Europe.
The impact of the pandemic really started to register in February’s figures, including a 16% year-on-year decline in sales of OE truck tires, according to the association.
March then saw a 26% year-on-year decline in sales of consumer tires, and a 15% drop in demand for both truck and agricultural tires.
For the first quarter as a whole, ETRMA members reported a 13% drop in sales of consumer tires and agricultural tires as well as a 6% decline in truck tires.
The declines were clearly linked to government measures taken to protect the public and workers from Covid, including temporary closures of European tire manufacturing facilities.
As of 7 April, ETRMA estimated that in Europe: 89% of manufacturing capacity is closed, 84% of the workforce is affected and 10% of R&D staff is unable to continue their activities.
Then association added that it remains unclear when the European tire industry will be able to resume its production activities and the international supply chain will function properly again.
Moreover, it noted that national lockdown measures across the EU had impacted vehicle and tire purchases as well as the actual usage of vehicles.
“Both the suspension of the operational activities and the sharp drop in demand will have a long-lasting impact on the performance of our industry,” said ETRMA secretary-general Fazilet Cinaralp.
“This is the biggest challenge our industry has ever faced,” added Cinaralp, who welcomed measures taken at the European and national levels to mitigate the impact of the crisis.
Meanwhile, ETRMA is collaborating with the EU institutions and national governments to develop schemes to facilitate a restart of activities once the immediate health crisis is over.
“We look forward to continuing our dialogue with decision-makers on how we can restart our activities in the near future,” said Cinaralp.