HANOVER, Germany—Continental A.G. expects demand for consumer and commercial vehicle replacement tires to grow 3 and 2 percent in 2018, respectively, with Asia contributing more than half of the growth.
Overall, replacement demand for passenger/light truck tires should rise to 1.25 billion units, Conti said, citing IHS Inc. an LMC International Ltd. figures. Demand for medium/heavy-duty commercial vehicle tires is seen rising to 166.3 million units.
As it has been in recent years, China will be the driver of the global market expansion due to further growth in that nation's vehicle parc, Conti said. Demand also is forecast to grow in India, Indonesia and South Korea.
Overall, Asian growth is pegged at 5 percent.
Continental also expects demand in North America to recover soon, partly as a result of the continuing rise in mileage. Replacement consumer tire sales should rise roughly 1.8 percent to 290 million units, while sales of commercial vehicle tires are seen rising 3.3 percent to 25.3 million.
By comparison, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association recently forecast that U.S. replacement car tire shipments are expected to rise 0.4 percent to 210.6 million units. Replacement light and medium truck tire shipments are forecast to rise 1.5 and 1.7 percent, respectively, to 31.8 million and 20 million units, the association said.
In Europe, Conti anticipates growth in eastern Europe to boost overall replacement consumer tire demand by roughly 2 percent, to 358 million units.
In South America, the Hanover-based tire maker said it expects 4 percent growth in demand.
Furthermore, the company expects increased demand for commercial vehicle tires to grow in all regions, with Asia again playing a key role, accounting for "nearly half" of the expected increase in demand.
"As a result of rising transport volumes, we currently expect demand for replacement tires for medium and heavy commercial vehicles to increase by 2 percent," Conti added.
Citing figures from LMC International, Conti put global sales of passenger/light truck tires in 2017 at 1.21 billion units, led by Asia with 453 billion and followed by Europe with 351 million, North America with 235 million, Latin America with 73 million and the rest of the world at 47 million.
Likewise, global sales of tires for commercial vehicles was 162.5 million units—up 4.7 percent over 2016—with Asia accounting for 89.2 million units, followed by Europe (25.3 million), North America (24.5 million), Latin America (15.7 million) and the rest of the world (7.8 million).