Legacy brands have started to pull back on battery-electric vehicle (BEV) ambitions, and Bloomberg Intelligence’s (BI’s) new car buyers’ poll suggests demand will stall in Europe with consumers wary due to high BEV prices, range anxiety and a lack of charging points. A scaling back should support 2024 margins as lucrative ICE (internal combustion engine) profit faces less dilution from BEVs, while margins are likely to retreat at pureplays such as Tesla.
Elliott Investment Management L.P.’s 11 May open letter to Goodyear’s board of directors sent shockwaves through the company and the markets. Essentially, Elliott’s expounded on its “deep conviction in the opportunity for Goodyear to improve after more than a decade of underperformance”, which was widely interpreted as laying down the gauntlet to Goodyear’s board and most senior executives. With Elliott calling pistols at dawn in the mid-west, the question is: is it time to buckle up and circle the wagons in Akron or are vultures circling over Goodyear? Here, Tyres & Accessories presents an in-depth analysis of Elliott’s arguments for enormous change, critically evaluating the problematic areas Elliott identifies along the way. In order to support our analysis, we spoke to senior executives close to Goodyear, those with first-hand management experience in Akron, financial analysts and third-party market researchers.
The United Kingdom and European Union is importing an increasing tonnage of Off-The-Road (OTR) tyres, as the sector responds to internal and external trends. Externally, sinking shipping costs and relatively controlled production costs are particularly favouring Asian manufacturers. And with Russia’s war on Ukraine making the country a pariah in European trading terms, there are additional reasons to source increasing numbers of OTR tyres from South Asia. Trading relations with Russia’s closest supporter Belarus are also frosting, which could see further gains for Asian factories, while emerging tyre producing nations like Serbia could also reap the benefits. While the size, weight and per unit cost of the largest tyres could present arguments in favour of more localised production, lower manufacturing and materials costs weigh even more heavily in this balance of factors.
Challenging trading conditions persist in the UK thanks to various interlocking crises, though 2022’s replacement tyre market demonstrates the way some segments resisted the strong headwinds better than others. While overall tyre sales (units) were basically flat versus 2021, any anticipated surging recovery from a pandemic induced nadir was, broadly speaking, put off for another year. Contrastingly, the value of the overall market surged, though this effect was more due to inflation and increasing prices than a switch towards higher-value products. Having said this, the picture painted by analyst GfK’s data, based on the company’s “panelmarket” of tyre retail sell-out sources from January to December, is also one of stratification.
Passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tyre production trends in Western Europe have been scaling down over the long-term. The move to larger production facilities in the comparatively low-cost labour markets in Eastern Europe, or greater reliance on imports from Asia, has seen a steady stream of plant closures and conversions to speciality, short-run production capacity – on in the case of Cooper Tire’s UK plant, for example, one followed by the other – in the region. A new assessment of the most recent three-year period by tyre industry analyst Astutus Research suggests that the overall picture has been of a decline similar to the period following the 2008 financial crisis, which was itself a catalyst for this trend. Yet digging a little deeper into the figures shows several dynamics at play in European PCLT tyre production, including supply chain disruption and spiralling energy costs. For comprehensive analysis of global tyre market trends, a series of reports by Astutus Research are available to buy now in the Tyrepress Reports Shop – click here for more details.
With a wave of new ultra-high performance products from global brands arriving in the post-pandemic market, Tyres & Accessories looks at data supplied by specialist tyre industry analyst Astutus Research showing just how quickly the market for high rim diameter (HRD) tyres is now growing in Western and Central Europe (this data excludes Russia, Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe).
While van manufacturers have been both developing their electric portfolios and sustaining a double-digit sales contraction in a pandemic affected market, the picture for van tyre suppliers is certainly not as hostile. As we will see in this feature, the requirements of e-commerce and electric vehicles are providing new impetus to van tyre suppliers in the medium term. But 2020 UK figures generated by market data analyst GfK’s Point of Sales Tracking show that the segment is faring better than many with the travails of this year. At the same time, several trends are coalescing to improve the fortunes of van tyre suppliers.
The global recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is darkening the automotive sector’s short- and medium-term outlook given the prospect of steep declines in demand in North America and developing countries in 2020 in addition to Europe and China.
The latest global tyre market share figures from tyre industry analyst Astutus Research show how long-established, leading players headquartered in Japan, Europe, and North America have seen their volume share diminish, while Chinese, ASEAN, and selected other markets’ tyre manufacturers’ share has risen. The analyst states that in aggregate, the ten leading PCLT tyre manufacturers based in Japan, Europe and North America (J-E-NA) have lost almost 6 percentage points of market share since the end of 2011 (OE and replacement segments combined, volumes in tyre units). In part this reflects a strategic choice of some to focus on the higher value premium segments of the market.
NatWest’s latest UK Automotive PMI report registered the sharpest downturn in business conditions across the UK automotive sector for six-and-a-half years. At 43.5 in May, the headline seasonally adjusted UK Automobiles & Auto Parts PMI – a single figure measure of developments in manufacturing conditions – registered below the crucial 50.0 no-change threshold for the second month running. The latest figure was down from 48.9 in April.
Deloitte’s latest electric vehicle (EV) research shows the pace of global EV adoption, rising from two million units in 2018, to four million in 2020, 12 million in 2025, before rising to 21 million in 2030. By 2030, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) will significantly outperform the rest of the EV market, accounting for 70 per cent of total EV sales.
The viability of a sustained winter tyre market in the UK has long been categorised as doubtful, with sales rarely climbing to 2 per cent. Meanwhile recent improvements in tyre technology and the introduction of products looking to change their perception, led by the Michelin CrossClimate’s success in the fleet market, have seen all-season tyres become an increasingly attractive proposition.
Automechanika Birmingham 2017 represented the perfect opportunity for the UK’s automotive aftermarket to gather as higher technology vehicles continue to push up turnover by 2.4 per cent in 2016. 800 such companies were present at the Birmingham NEC for this year’s show. The aftermarket accounted for £21.6 billion in turnover – a figure boosted by the presence of the more high tech vehicles on Britain’s road in addition to recent record months in new car registrations. Additionally the increasing demand for digital services has helped to boost the online side of the segment, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which reported the latest figures, states that more car parts, accessories and services are bought online than cosmetics or groceries. Tyres, alongside lubricants and filters, are the most commonly replaced part, and help account for some of the growth in digital sales, though demand for digital devices, including telematics and tyre pressure sensors, has grown fastest. Overall, the SMMT states that the automotive sector makes a contribution to the UK economy of £12.5 billion.