After seeing a slight upturn in sales for February and March, preliminary April tire and service sales from our nationwide panel of retail tire dealers show a leveling off. Final March results, while slightly down from preliminary results, still came in at reasonable levels: 97.6 for tire unit sales and 97.8 for service sales when compared to March 2008.
Early April results from Tire Review’s exclusive dealer panel show flat index results of 97.5 for tire unit sales. Broadline tire sales, surprisingly, led the way with a 97.7 result vs. April 2008, while HP/UHP sales slipped to 97.2 compared to the same month last year.
March marked the second consecutive month where undercar and underhood sales trended up from January’s low point. Preliminary March numbers are off only 2% from the same month last year, and up compared to January, which was down a solid 5%.
April service numbers showed both undercar and underhood sales flattened out after rebounding in February and March from January’s low point. Preliminary April numbers are off only 2.5% from the same month last year, and up considerably from January.
Dealer panel member comments continue to reflect concerns over the economy. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
• Nothing has changed yet.
• The economy needs to get better.
• We’re taking it as it comes.
• We need the economy to pick up. Places are closing all around us.
• The economy needs to pick up.
• We keep waiting for it to break loose.
• It’s still a struggle. Everyone is still spending less.
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