London (Dec. 14, 2009)—Continental A.G.'s United Kingdom unit said the domestic market for consumer tires held up in 2009, but tires for commercial vehicles slumped.
Conti said cost-conscious buyers turned to cheaper passenger tires at the expense of premium tires. Fleet managers generally extend the life of vehicles in their fleets, and government-funded scrappage program triggered a disproportionate increase in the sale of small, lightweight cars, resulting in declines of larger, heavier vehicles.
The move toward eco-branded vehicles in the future will result in greater demand for smaller, lower-speed-rated tire sin coming years, Conti said.
For commercial tires, the company expects a recovery of sorts in 2010.
Conti said fleet operators trended to buying less-expensive tires in reaction to the severe market downturn in 2009.