BRUSSELS—The European tire industry has shrugged off a range of negative market factors to record a generally positive start to 2016, figures from the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers' Association show.
Concerns, though, remain about the growing threat posed by cheap imports, particularly from China.
Tire replacements sales of its ETRMA member companies for the first quarter of 2016, indicate a good level of activity on the EU market, ETRMA said in an April 14 release. The association expects a certain stability in the sales trends for the rest of the year.
This positive start was despite a very mild winter, which impacted sales of winter tires and a negative performance of the agricultural tire market, including a 19 percent dip in imports. Bucking the latter trend, was a 1 percent rise in exports from India to the EU.
More generally, though, ETRMA reported that the pressure from imports remained high in 2015.
Ovrall EU imports of truck and bus tires increased 10 percent. China remained the main exporter to the EU, with a 12 percent share.
Consumer tire imports into the EU, meanwhile, increased by 6 percent, with those from China 9 percent higher, the association also reported.
Chinese exports to Europe have been consistently growing in recent years, ETRMA Secretary General Fazilet Cinaralp said. She added this growth came despite a decrease of Chinese exports of 4 percent
“This confirms the high exposure of the European tire market to competition from third countries, whilst other parts of the world are putting in place protective measures,” Cinaralp said.