Battery market under pressure
In the past we have often commented on the similarities between the battery and tyre markets, notably in the problems faced by both and their reactions to these. One such appears to be a sharp increase in the number of batteries entering the market from the Far East. It is true that many manufacturers in the tyre industry have moved their production to low-cost countries and they are not alone – witness the recent spate of press reports revealing that more and more call centres are deserting the UK and relocating to India – so why should this not be the case for batteries? After all, if all markets are faced with the same economic realities, then is it surprising that their responses are similar?Undoubtedly, there is an element of this in the figures, but no doubt some of the increase is due to products being made by companies originally based in Asia and sold aggressively on the European market.
Battery imports from Asia to the EU rose last year by five per cent, to 7.3 million units. Not far behind were imports from Eastern Europe, which were up by four per cent.
Most dramatic was the performance of China, which is now Europe’s main Asian importer, with 2.4 million batteries sold in the EU last year; an increase of 38 per cent over the previous year. But it is not only China, as batteries are coming into the EU from South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan.