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Sumitomo Expects Stronger Tire Unit Sales in Second Half

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Against a backdrop of “skyrocketing market prices” for natural rubber and petroleum-based raw materials that permeated the first half of the year, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. is raising full-year expectations.

The tiremaker increased company-wide projections to 930 billion yen — from the 910 billion yen it projected in May — largely based on the expectation the company will record 15 billion more in tire sales than previously forecasted.

Sumitomo sold more tires in the second quarter than it did in the first quarter of 2021, noting, “our sales volume continued to recover, making a particularly strong comeback in Europe and North America.”

The company imposed tire price increases in every market around the globe — including three increases in North America. Supply here has been an issue, and Sumitomo acknowledged its WildPeak series has been “wildly popular” and “due to freight container shortages we can barely keep up with surging demand.”

Global tire sales totaled 369 billion yen in the first half of the year. Sumitomo sold 28.5 million tires in the second quarter, up from 28.4 million units in the first quarter. The company projects third- and fourth-quarter tire volumes will be stronger than what was recorded in the first half of the year. Total unit volumes are forecasted to hit 120.5 million units — up from the 108.8 million units sold in 2020.

“In the Americas region, despite the impact of the delayed arrival of imports as a result of the tight supply and demand situation of shipping containers especially in North America, sell-out was strong especially in terms of SUV tires, and we were able to increase sales, including those of the WildPeak series and other high-performance products.”

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