No shortage of tires is expected in Russia due to some plant closures, said the Center for Prospective Technology Development (CRPT), a Russian government agency authorized to supervise the state of play on the tire market.
The available warehouse reserves are estimated at 80 million tires, while the monthly demand on the domestic market is close to 3.6 million tires, CRPT said.
"This quantity is enough to meet the demand for the next 18 months," CRPT estimated.
In the first half of 2022, Russia imported 10.9 million tires, up 22 percent from 8.5 million during the same period of the previous year, CRPT said, adding that the growth was secured primarily by Chinese companies that seek to replace Western brands.
Tire imports from China totaled 3.7 million tires, up 44.7 percent vs. the first half of 2021, CRPT said. In contrast, imports from most of the Western nations fell precipitously: South Korea dropped 54 percent (to 760,000 tires); Japan was off 54 percent (to 500,000 tires); Luxembourg, down 60 percent (to 336,000 tires); and Germany, off 42 percent (to 304,000 tires), CRPT reported.
Chinese tire brands Linglong and Triangle, and Maxxis from Taiwan, reportedly have significantly boosted supplies to the Russian market in the first half of 2022. Over the past few years, Chinese tire imports to Russia were hampered by antidumping duties imposed in 2016 in a bid to protect the domestic market.
All market players expect Chinese tire imports to surge.
Andrey Toptun, head of the analytics department at Russian think tank Avtostat, claimed that "a holy place is never empty," and the share of Western brands pulling out from Russia eventually would be taken by other market players. Toptun reminded that Continental has not yet announced its decision regarding the future of their Russian business.
"If a shortage (on the Russian tire market) is possible, it will be only short term, but prices will definitely soar due to logistics, lack of competition, and global hike in prices for components for the production of tires, rubber, other materials and energy," Toptun added.
Maxim Ryazanov, technical director of the Fresh Auto car dealership network, told a Russian government publication that owners of expensive cars would suffer from Michelin's departure from the country since the French brand occupied a significant share of the premium segment in tire production.
"Russian producers, though they are not experiencing a shortage of raw materials, will not be able to replace foreign players by 100 percent, especially in the premium segment," Ryazanov said.