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Tire demand weakens in Europe

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Demand for tires in Europe is rapidly decreasing in both the consumer and commercial tire sectors.

"The European original equipment business in the passenger tire sector declined by 20% in the fourth quarter of 2008 and by even more than 30% in the first two months of the current year," reports Dr. Hans-Joachim Nikolin, who is in charge of Continental AG's tire divisions.

"The passenger tire replacement market also shows a considerable weakening of demand."

On the commercial tire side, OE sales in Europe dropped 20% during the fourth quarter of last year. "This trend has accelerated dramatically in the first two months of the current year."

Europe's replacement commercial tire sector fell more than 15% in the last quarter of 2008, he adds.

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