WASHINGTON—Newly released data from a study that was a long time in the making shows the tire industry fared better than the overall economy during the economic depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association reports spending on tires fell 15 percent from February to April 2020. While the drop is substantial, the figure compares favorably with the overall spending decline of 19 percent, the trade group said.
USTMA officials started examining the idea of a study back in 2019 as they looked for information to help guide decisions for the next decade. But before the exact parameters of the research were nailed down, the pandemic hit and caused a re-evaluation of the scope, according to Anne Forristall Luke, CEO of USTMA.
The time horizon was reduced to five years due to the volatile nature of the economy during COVID-19 and research was expanded to include the impacts of the pandemic, she explained.
USTMA decided to undertake the research, conducted by economic and public policy consulting firm Keybridge L.L.C., to collect data and help prepare messaging regarding the industry's important issues for after the 2020 elections.
"We started out for our members and our association to have a clear and data-supported vision of the forward-looking trends that are impacting our industry," Luke said. "We really wanted a strong narrative backed by data to shape our conversations with those policy makers."
The study helps show the tire industry's importance as well as helps explain society's shifting views on mobility. Information will be helpful not only in Washington, but also around the country on the state level, Luke said.