The following is the latest in MTD's exclusive series of interviews with top truck tire executives about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business, plus their outlook on demand, shipments and other key factors during the second half of the year. Stay tuned to www.moderntiredealer.com for more coverage!

When will replacement commercial truck tire demand start to return? Jinki Shin, sales manager for Kumho Tire USA Inc., says it could happen as early as next month. In this interview, Shin discusses Kumho’s truck tire inventory strategy, shipment projections and more.

"Kumho is building up inventory levels in preparation for the future supply," says Shin. -

"Kumho is building up inventory levels in preparation for the future supply," says Shin.

MTD: How did the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government actions impact your commercial truck tire business in the United States and Canada?

Shin: The TBR business sector of Kumho has not been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kumho has maintained the stable sales volume.

MTD: A number of tire manufacturers temporarily suspended production at their U.S.-based truck tire plants. It is expected that these shutdowns and/or production suspensions will have an impact on truck tire shipments for the rest of the year. Can you quantify expected shipment declines?

Shin: At this stage, we are forecasting about a 10% to 12% decrease in the replacement market and about a 15% decrease in OE market sales.

MTD: When do you expect OE and replacement tire demand to bottom out and when will demand – in both channels – start to rebound? What are you doing to prepare for this?

Shin: At Kumho, we expect replacement tire demand… will start to rebound in early July. However, the OE market will not recover until Q3 due to high inventory levels on Class 8 trucks. Kumho is building up inventory levels in preparation for future supply.

MTD: Truck tire dealers have played an instrumental role in keeping fleets up and running during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are you doing to support your dealers? What advice do you have for them during this challenging time?

Shin: At Kumho, we are trying to support our truck tire dealers by offering them payment extension programs and special promotions on key patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though it has been difficult for our truck tire dealers during this time, we believe that the commercial business will start to rebound within a few months,” says Shin.

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