‘Drastic decline’ – ETRMA releases members’ Q1 2020 sales figures
Fresh figures from the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) show the extent to which COVID-19 control measures have impacted upon Europe’s tyre markets. The year-on-year slowdown in tyre replacements and sales in the first quarter of 2020 has been “dramatic”, the ETRMA reports. While the association states that it “welcomes the measures taken at the European and national levels to mitigate the impact of the crisis”, it adds that it “looks forward to additional schemes to stimulate a successful restart of activities.”
Tyre sales across all categories have dropped drastically as the outbreak of COVID-19 has spread to Europe and forced society to come to a stop. The sector began 2020 amidst similar conditions to the closing months of 2019. But early impact of the coronavirus on the tyre industry can already be seen in February’s figures, most noticeably in the 16 per cent decline (compared to February 2019) in original equipment truck tyres.
The far-reaching repercussions of the pandemic become apparent in the figures for March. These show a 13 per cent drop in consumer tyres and agricultural tyres as well as a six per cent decline in truck tyres. Comparing March 2020 to March 2019, we see a 26 per cent decline in consumer tyres, and a 15 per cent drop in both truck and agricultural tyres.
The drastic decline in tyre sales and replacements is partly due to the extensive measures taken by tyre manufacturers to protect the health and well-being of their employees and comply with government guidelines. This has led to the temporary closure of the European manufacturing facilities of almost all ETRMA member companies. As of 7 April, ETRMA estimates that in Europe: 89 per cent of manufacturing capacity is closed, 84 per cent of the workforce is affected and ten per cent of R&D staff is unable to continue their activities. The association adds that it is “unclear” when the European tyre industry will be able to resume its production activities and the international supply chain will be up and running again.
Additionally, there has been a substantial drop in demand due to the national lockdown measures across the European Union, which have affected vehicle and tyre purchases, driving behaviour and the number of miles driven. Fazilet Cinaralp, secretary-general of the ETRMA states: “Both the suspension of the operational activities and the sharp drop in demand will have a long-lasting impact on the performance of our industry. This is the biggest challenge our industry has ever faced.”
The ETRMA stresses its support for the measures taken by the European Commission to help mitigate the consequences of this unprecedented crisis. Additionally, it “hopes to continue collaborating with the EU institutions and national governments to develop schemes that stimulate a smooth and successful restart of activities in this vital European industry once the immediate health crisis is over.”
“We look forward to continuing our dialogue with decision-makers on how we can restart our activities in the near future,” said Cinaralp. In the meantime, the tyre industry will continue to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. “The European tyre industry remains ready to provide any assistance it can. A number of ETRMA members are producing surgical masks and ventilators in different Member States and continue to mobilise on all fronts to play an active role in the global battle.”