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Tire import data shows shift in countries of origin, says Ludwig

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"Here’s some data I find interesting. In the first few months of 2008, imports into the U.S. of foreign-made tires are up only 2% -– or well below the double-digit growth rate of the last several years," says analyst Saul Ludwig in the May installment of the "Ludwig Report" in Modern Tire Dealer magazine.

"But within that 2% increase there is wide variation by origin. Increases from China are up 20% and Indonesia +11%. On the downside, Canada is down 11%, Europe -21%, Japan -12% and Korea -4%.

"In my opinion, the most important change to come in the next few years will be a lower rate of import growth from China as costs there are starting to increase sharply.

"Don’t forsake your U.S. supplier -– you will need him badly in the years ahead," Ludwig tells dealers.

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

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