After showing a continued improvement in sales of both tires and service in May and June, our nationwide panel of tire dealers says that July-September vehicle service sales remained just 2% off last year’s mark, and tire sales were down just 1% year-over-year.
July’s final tire sales results, according to the Tire Review Dealer Panel, were just 1% off July 2008 sales, but final August results show a 2% slide year-over-year. In September, tire unit sales improved, back to being just 1% off the same period last year, according to preliminary results.
Service sales had been consistently running 4%-5% below previous year levels for months, but August’s final undercar and underhood sales results came in just 2% off from last year’s levels. Preliminary September results show more of the same, with sales in both categories off just two points vs. 2008.
Dealer Panel member comments reflect concerns over the economy and the China tire tariff:
• We need to drop China and move on. There was a 15% price increase and we didn’t have a timetable to do anything about it.
• I think Cash for Clunkers might have affected tire and service sales.
• The issue is China-built tires. The tariff is driving prices up everywhere, and that’s going to hurt low-income people the most.
• The cheap tire has pretty much been eliminated. People are buying used tires.
• The housing business has really hurt us. Workers used to come in and not even ask about the cost of tires. That doesn’t happen anymore.
• Just looking forward to it breaking loose.
• It would take too much time to get it all down.
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