Michelin: Tyre Markets Recovered in April
Sales in the European tyre replacement markets recovered in April, according to Michelin and industry analysts. European truck tyre replacement sales are reported to have grown 10 per cent; while Michelin’s numbers suggest that European passenger tyre replacement sales grew 4 per cent in April (compared with a -1 per cent year-to-date figure). Total OE sales are said to have grown by “a high double digit figure.” Responding to the report, Deutsche Bank analysts put the perceived recovery down to “the Easter weekend effect.” However, Tyres & Accessories’ research shows that the current sales situation may not be so rosy overall.
Taken in isolation, April was a very good sale month in France (which no doubt meant strong sales for market leader Michelin). This may explain why their calculation puts the European market up 4 per cent, but it conflicts with the ETRMA Europool data T&A has seen.
In the month of April, French car tyre sales grew 28 per cent from over 2.3 to 3 million units. The UK market also grew – up 3 per cent from 1.34 to 1.4 million units, according to Europool. However, apart from these positive numbers there were also some distinctly negative results in the key German and Italian results.
Europool data shows that the German passenger car tyre market shed the best part of a quarter of a million units during April 2008 (compared with the same time last year), falling 6 per cent from over 3.5 million tyres to around 3.3 million. The Italian passenger car tyre market doesn’t look any better – it fell 8 per cent from 1.8 to 1.64 million tyres during the same period.
A quick glance at the Western European market’s year-to-date figures show that the best performing markets (Britain and France) are flat compared with last year, while the usually strong German market was actually 13 per cent behind the sales it achieved in the first four months of 2007, in April.
The Europool data doesn’t include parallel/grey sales or non-Europool imports so it would be hasty to suggest that the French market had grown by as much as it appears; or the that the German market really has such a bad time of it. Overall these discrepancies could be explained by Premium brands like Michelin regaining market share in France and losing it in Germany. However, without still more specific sales breakdowns it is difficult to pin point the precise reason. Nevertheless, what the Europool data does appear to show is that Michelin’s predictions of recovery in European replacement markets could be coloured by the manufacturer’s recent success in its own domestic French market. Those responsible for the Italian and German markets are probably not wearing the same brand of rose coloured spectacles.
In North America that the Michelin reports that the replacement markets have remained negative in April: 0 per cent for passenger tyres (-2% year-to-date) and -2 per cent in the truck tyre segment (-1% year-to-date).