LONDON-Global demand for passenger and truck tires will grow at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent through the year 2000, with China and the rest of Asia leading the way, according to a new study.
Sales of truck and bus tires will grow faster than auto tires, 3.1 percent vs. 2.1 percent, according to a report by market research company Economist Intelligence Unit. The developing nations of Asia and rebuilding economies of eastern Europe will be the biggest consumers, with truck tire use in China growing more than 40 percent.
The study-``The World Tyre Industry: Competitive Challenge to 2000''-reported demand for commercial vehicle tires in North America and western Europe will be stagnant, about 0.1 percent and 0.8 percent growth annually. The 27.2 million units forecast for western Europe in 2000 still will be below the peak of 27.5 million in 1990.
The EIU study includes Mexico in its Latin American statistics. Growth in demand for truck tires in Mexico is forecast at 3.1 percent per year.
The report said similar growth will occur in Latin America, with radials gaining ground.
Passenger and truck tire demand in eastern Europe and Russia each will jump more than 5 percent annually, the study predicts. That forecast is in contrast with other sources: Russia, for example, reportedly is using only 33 percent of its production capacity today.
Worldwide sales of tires will exceed 1 billion units during the year 2000, up from approximately 883 million units last year, EIU said.
The 144-page study, compiled by motor industry specialist Ian Wagstaff, said Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., Kumho & Co. and Hankook Tire Manufacturing Co. Ltd. will be the fastest-growing major tire makers. Several of the emerging Chinese companies also are forecast to rise into the top 20 rankings.