March 20, 2013
Winter tires and the 2013-14 season
Tracking trends and technology is easier than figuring out what Mother Nature has in store for us
By: Modern Tire Dealer staff
The GT Radial Champiro IcePro is a premium, studdable winter tire. Nine states completely prohibit the use of studded tires: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas and Vermont. The majority of the other states have seasonal restrictions.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Tire dealers in the United States might have taken that proverb to heart when buying winter tires in 2012.
Following a mild 2011-2012 winter season — and perhaps stuck with plenty of extra inventory — dealers held back last year. The result was a significant drop in winter tire shipments.
According to Modern Tire Dealer statistics, the true winter tire market was down 14.5% in 2012. It dropped from 6.2 million units to 5.3 million.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) estimates passenger tires with “traction and snow tread patterns” dropped 24.2% year-to-year, from 9.5 million units to 7.2 million.
Will winter tire shipments pick up in 2013? The New England area and New York, which were hit hard by a recent snowstorms, depleted some inventories. Brandy Gadd, marketing manager for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., says the winter tire segment is expected to grow in both the U.S. and Canada through 2016.
Matt Edmonds, vice president of The Tire Rack, says educating the consumer on the benefits of winter tires is the key.
“As an industry, we’ve done a poor job of educating the consumer. You have to find ways to convince the consumer there is a personal benefit, and the personal benefit is control, which equates to safety in winter’s worse conditions.”
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