LONDON—A second quarter reversal in European replacement tire markets could set a trend for the months ahead, according to Fazilet Cinaralp, secretary general of the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers' Association.
Cinaralp was commenting on ETRMA's latest quarterly figures, which showed significant quarter-on-quarter declines in member companies' sales—reversing a positive trend observed earlier this year.
The data, published July 14, showed a sharp slowdown compared to the first three months of the year. The trend affected all segments, particularly consumer tires which came in 6 percent lower year-on-year at 46.6 million units.
Second-quarter sales of truck tires, meanwhile, were down 1 percent on the first quarter to 2.2 million units and agricultural tire sales fell 4 percent to 376,000 units.
This was in marked contrast with the performance of the market in the three months to March 31, where the replacement market saw gains in almost every segment. This included a 4 percent rise in sales of passenger car tires at 55.4 million units.
Overall, first-half sales of consumer tires were down by 1 percent to around 102 million units. Also, agricultural tire sales fell 2 percent to 782,000 units, while there was a 7 percent gain in truck tire sales to around 4.9 million units.
In written comments about the sales trends, Cinaralp linked some of the recent weakness to a pick-up in demand ahead of price increases in April.
"This led to a weak performance for the second quarter and we have lost, more or less, all sales increases of the first quarter," Cinaralp wrote.
But, while waiting with interest for July figures, the ETRMA boss said sales reports from the tire distribution sector pointed to "further weak months and [an] impact on the whole-year expectation."
As a further concern, Cinaralp reported that resales for winter tires had also started very slowly.