Preliminary March sales numbers from our nationwide panel of retail tire dealers show a continuing upward trend for both tire unit and service sales, building on the uptick witnessed in February. Month-over-month, sales are still below last year’s levels, but the trend (if two months makes a trend) is in the right direction.
Tire Review’s exclusive dealer panel reported better final February numbers in retail passenger tire unit sales. While sales were still off 3% vs. the same month last year, preliminary numbers for March show a continuing turnaround in retail demand. March tire units are off approximately 1.5% vs. March 2008, but are headed in the right direction. In individual tire segments, all three product areas show signs of rebounding, with broadline and light truck tires showing the best recovery.
March marks 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%.
Dealer panel member comments continue to reflect concerns over the economy. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
• Cash flow is tight, but we are doing it.
• We keep plugging away and hope for better days.
• The economy is bad, but we are seeing a bit of an upward swing.
• We just need more customers.
• Every day you have to keep on your toes. You can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. You have to get out there and make the sales.
• We are in a rural area and it’s a little different than the cities. We are picking up a bit.
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