"The challenge of selling big ticket products in today’s economic climate is indeed daunting and to boot, with most tire companies just having announced a new round of price hikes, your job won’t get any easier," says tire industry analyst Saul Ludwig in the latest installment of the "Ludwig Report" in Modern Tire Dealer magazine.
"Driving levels continue to move lower even as gasoline prices come down – possibly the ongoing impact of high unemployment," Ludwig says.
"One bright spot ahead in northern states might be sales of winter tires. Last winter was very harsh and dealers I spoke with pretty much sold out their winter tire inventory so be sure you are well stocked in those tires this year. In the South, maybe the record heat experienced this summer chewed up rubber faster than normal so those tires will have to be replaced.
"So, it’s 'tough it out time' again. Get creative."
Ludwig is a managing director with Northcoast Research Holdings LLC based in Cleveland, Ohio. He concentrates on the tire and chemical industries. Look for the full "Ludwig Report" in each issue of Modern Tire Dealer magazine.