Sales of tires have dropped over the last months, Michelin and Continental being the most affected companies.

In December, Michelin sales of new tires dropped 16% in Europe and 2% in North America, while sales of replacement tires fell 7% in Europe and 8% in North America. The drop in tire sales is the result of slow auto sales caused by the economic downturn in Europe. Last month auto sales dropped 16% to 838,428 vehicles in Europe, reaching the lowest level in more than 2 years.

The European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association said that the decrease registered last month came after two years in which the markets expanded, despite a fall in the market share of European tire manufacturers. The figures for the entire 2012 represent the lowest replacement market volume for tire makers in the EU in the past seven years.

ETRMA Secretary General Fazilet Cinaralp said that possible causes for this decrease would be lower mileage per vehicle, consumers choosing used tires instead of new ones and consumers postponing the purchase of new tires. Cinaralp added that the rise in used tire sales also increases the possibility of severe safety problems on the European roads.


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