Preliminary January sales numbers from our nationwide panel of retail tire dealers indicate a continued drop in tire and service sales, a trend that surfaced in April 2008. Both tire unit sales and service sales in dollars declined heavily vs. January 2008. Clearly, consumers continue to postpone purchases.
Tire Review’s exclusive dealer panel reported weak final December 2008 sales results, with retail tire units off more than 3% vs. December 2007. Preliminary numbers for January 2009 continue to show weak retail demand, with tire unit sales down a whopping 5% year-over-year. In individual tire segments, all three product areas – broadline, HP/UHP and LT/SUV – are being hard hit, with HP/UHP showing the steepest decline.
January marks the ninth consecutive month where both undercar and underhood service sales were consistently down from the previous year’s levels. Preliminary results show service sales were off nearly 5% from last January.
Dealer panel member comments continue to reflect concerns over the economy. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
• The thing that concerns me the most is that people keep saying they just don’t have the money to spend. They don’t even want to charge anything.
• The economy is bad of course, but it could always be worse.
• The economy has everyone in a cold grip.
• We all need the economic stimulus.
• I hope the economy turns around for all of us. We need our confidence back.
• Every customer is doing everything they can to keep from spending; they are only repairing, not buying.
• We need to get jobs for people so they can start spending money again.
• Please, somebody help!
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