Dealer comments and survey results reflect increasing concerns over the economy and its impact on future business. Tire and service sales at our panel of more than 100 independent tire dealers nationwide dropped significantly in February, and rebounded slightly in March – but they remain below 2007 results.
Dealer Panel members report that retail tire units appear to be rebounding in March vs. the same month last year. Final February numbers for tire unit sales show a significant decrease of about 2.5% vs. February 2007. Preliminary results for March show a 1% decrease in tire unit sales compared to March 2007. In the individual segments, broadline and HP tire unit sales are running 1% to 1.5% behind 2007, while light truck/SUV tire sales are virtually equal vs. last year.
Both undercar and underhood service sales dropped dramatically in February, down 1% from year-over-year. Preliminary March survey results show that service sales appear to have flattened out at that level. March 2008 undercar service sales sat at 99.3 vs. March 2007, while underhood service sales indexed at 99 vs. the same month last year.
- People are concerned with the recession but are cautiously optimistic.
- The economy is hurting locally pretty bad.
- Fuel prices and the condition of the timber industry is dealing my business a catastrophic blow.
- Truckers are buying the cheapest tires that they can find…major manufacturers are pricing themselves out of business.
- People are only buying things that they need. Nothing extra at all.
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