Do three months count as a trend? If so, then perhaps we’re seeing thestart of a rebound as our Dealer Panel has now reported three straightmonths – May, June and July – of level tire and service sales.
Whilethose months have traditionally been strong ones for automotive sales,coming off of the past 12 months it has been refreshing to see salesrebounding to being even or nearly even with the same period last year.Tire Review’s exclusive Dealer Panel reported tire unit sales reachinglast year’s levels in final June numbers. Preliminary numbers for Julyshow a slight softening in retail demand, with unit sales off just 1%from July 2008. In the individual tire segments, all three productareas surpassed last year in May and June. July was off just a bit.
Finalresults for June show both undercar and underhood service sales alsoincreased to reach last years’ levels. This is no small feat, sincemonthly service sales in 2009 have been consistently running 4%-5%below previous year levels. Preliminary July numbers also lookrelatively strong, with undercar and underhood service trending at lessthan 1% off of 2008 results.
Dealer Panel member comments continue to reflect concerns over the economy. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
• I hope the economy picks up. We need the cash flow to improve.
• I don’t think we can continue to sell tires at the cheapest price.
• The past three months have been good. Things are looking up.
• They’d rather repair a tire than replace it, and if they have to replace it they buy the cheapest one.
• Regarding ‘cash for clunkers’ – we won’t have any cars to work on.
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