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Depressing figures for the tire industry



Sales down in 2020 and jobs at risk. OEM is the hardest hit segment by the economic downturn following the Covid-19 pandemic

Dino Collazzo

A year to forget. The European tire industry produced the 2020 figures, which show negative numbers in almost all segments. The only positive note is the all-season market. Reading the data presented by Etrma, which analysed sales over the last 12 months in European countries, the most striking figure belongs to the OEM segment. The drop recorded in this segment was -23% for consumer tires and -18% for the truck sector. No less dramatic is the situation in the aftermarket, where sales of consumer tires fell by 12%. Breaking down this last data, what emerges is that winter car tires suffered the most from the market contraction, with -20% compared to the -13% scored by summer tires. According to a number of analysts, the latter data may have been influenced by the decision of many motorists, given the lockdown measures adopted by all governments and the limitations on travel, not to proceed with the seasonal tire change.

The only segment going against the tide, and not for the first time, was the all-season market (+5%). Shifting our attention to the truck tire segment, the figures show a drop of -4%, while motorcycle tires did even worse with a drop of -9%. Sales of agricultural tires, on the other hand, remained steady. "The Covid-19 pandemic, the repeated roadblocks and restrictions to mobility imposed as a consequence, together with the economic crisis that followed, with the closure of some factories, have affected the tire sector significantly, not only in terms of sales but also in terms of jobs lost - explained Facilet Cinarapl, Secretary General of Etrma -. Unfortunately, the enormous drop in original equipment consumer tires is not a surprise and is a direct consequence of the contraction of the European automotive industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic". In 2020, in fact, the European automotive industry lost a quarter of its volumes.

Registrations in the entire area, including the United Kingdom and EFTA, fell by 24.3% (11,961,182 in absolute terms). A level, as recalled by the Promotor Research Center, that takes the sector back 26 years, to 1994. Lockdowns and Covid 19 did not spare any country, with sales falling in all thirty markets in the area. In Italy, registrations were down 27.9%, falling almost 4 points behind the European market. According to Acea, the European organization that brings together car manufacturers, this is the heaviest drop in the history of the sector, with a net loss of almost four million vehicles on the market. The outlook for 2021, however, remains strongly negative, due to both the persistent pandemic and the end of important measures aimed at supporting the demand, which have not been renewed.

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