The Tire Review Dealer Panel reports retail passenger tire unit sales continued to show positive movement in February vs. the same month last year. Final January numbers for tire unit sales show an increase of about 1% in retail demand vs. January 2007.
After hitting the bottom in late 2007, tire unit sales have improved. Preliminary numbers for February show an increase in consumer purchases of 0.5% from February 2007.
In the individual tire segments, broadline and HP tire sales for February are running slightly ahead of 2007. Light truck/SUV tire sales remain up about 1% vs. last year.
After launching off to a solid start in January, vehicle service sales stayed hot in February, up nearly 2% overall vs. the same month last year. Both undercar and underhood service sales rebounded in January after two very sluggish months, up around 1.5% each year-over-year, and February saw undercar jump 1.6% and underhood leap 2.3% vs. February 2007.
Dealer Panel comments provide insights to issues facing dealers today…
• The economy is bad; we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
• Too many price increases in one year.
• There are more high performance tires on cars now than there were last year.
• Sales have increased. More people are buying high performance tires.
• TPMS is a pain. An 8-degree temperature change causes it to go off.
• Customer budgets seem to be very tight so a lot of extra quotes on option tires are given. Some don’t want to talk about upgraded tires.
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