Throughout 2020, tyre manufacturers and importers in Poland recorded drops in sales to the market reaching an average of -13% in almost all tyre segments. Only sales of all-season tyres increased by + 48.4%, motorcycle tyres by + 11%, and truck tyres by + 1.9%. The smallest decrease was recorded in the industrial (-2.2%) and premium (-4.9%) segments, and the largest in the light commercial vehicle segment (-17.3%). Sales of passenger car tyres fell by -14.9%, and SUV tyre sales by -13.7%.
– The automotive industry is a major victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Huge drops in production and sales, broken supply chains and periodic production downtime mean losses that cannot be rebuilt quickly. This also translates into tyre manufacturers. Hopefully, the slight rebound in the fourth quarter will herald an improvement in 2021. Maintaining jobs was a priority in the tyre industry and we hope that this year's pandemic and economic situation will enable the continuation of this assumption and a gradual return to the growth path – says Maciej Winiarz, president of the Management Board of Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).
– The fourth quarter of 2020 indeed brings hope for a return of optimism – it partially halted the decline in tyre sales and confirmed the previously observed trends of the growing popularity of all-season, premium and SUV tyres. The share of all-season tyres in total sales has already increased to 16%. We are very pleased with the large share of premium tyres in total sales – which reached 30%. This shows that drivers are starting to appreciate quality and road safety more, which depends so much on the tyres – ads Piotr Sarnecki, general director of PTIA.
Motorcycle, truck, agricultural and industrial tyres were also less prone to the crisis. It can be considered that these segments functioned fairly normally – not yielding to the impact of the pandemic. On the other hand, a very large drop in sales of winter tyres is not only the result of a change in the trend towards all-season tyres. It seems that the market was not expecting a harsh winter and many distributors had to order goods afterwards and send customers away empty-handed.
European tyres market
2020 has been a very difficult year for the industry. The Original Equipment (OE) segments being the most strongly affected, recording a -23% for consumer tyres and -18% for Trucks. Also in the Replacement market all the segments have been negatively impacted, with the Consumer tyres recording double digits impact equal to -12%, and more specifically -20% on Car Winter Tyres, and -13% on Car Summer Tyres. Only Car all seasons registered a positive trend. On the Truck tyres segment we registered -4%, and on Moto tyres a decrease of 9%, while Agricultural tyre sales performed steadily compared to last year.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, the repeated lockdowns and mobility restrictions consequently imposed, together with the economic crisis that followed, with the closure of some plants, have strongly impacted the tyre sector, not only in terms of sales but also in terms of jobs lost” said Mrs Cinaralp, Secretary General of ETRMA. “Unfortunately the huge drop in the OE consumer tyres is not a surprise and is a direct consequence of the 23.7%2 contraction announced for 2020 by the EU passenger car industry due to Covid-19 pandemic”.
We are starting to see in Q4 a slow restart of the activity, with the Agricultural Tyres sector driving it, followed by the moto & scooter segment, and truck tyres, while the consumer market remains negative. The relatively mild winter during semi/lockdown periods led many drivers to not replace their summer tyres with winter ones.
Mrs Cinaralp underlined that “It will be key for our sector to continue the collaboration with the European Union institutions and national governments to develop schemes to facilitate the recovery, in order to support the economy and the society to exit from this unprecedented crisis“.
Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association