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After a slow start, 2009 should see better tire sales, Ludwig says

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"At the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show last month, almost everybody we spoke with believed that replacement tire demand would slip some more in 2009 on the heels of a very soft 2008," said Saul Ludwig in the December installment of the "Ludwig Report" in Modern Tire Dealer magazine.

" I have a different view," he said. "With gasoline now in the $2 a gallon range, miles driven will soon start to pick up. 

"Tires are balder than ever. By the second half of 2009, the shipment comparisons with 2H08 will be especially easy. 

"Yes, 2009 may start off slow, but look for a stronger 2H09. Also, with raw materials costs falling, tire prices may also come off their recent highs."

Ludwig is a managing director with KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., based in Cleveland, Ohio. Look for the full "Ludwig Report" in the December issue of Modern Tire Dealer magazine.

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