LONDON-Global demand for car and truck tires will increase steadily every year through 2000, with China and the rest of Asia leading the way, according to a new study by Economist Intelligence Unit. Sales of truck and bus tires are forecast to grow faster than sales of car tires, the study predicts, 3.1 percent annually vs. 2.1 percent, with demand in the developing nations of Asia and rebuilding economies of eastern Europe leading the way. Truck tire sales in China, for example, will jump more 40 percent in the coming six years.
Demand for commercial vehicle tires in North America and western Europe, by contrast, is seen as stagnant-0.1 percent and 0.8 percent annual growth, respectively, according to the study, ``The World Tyre Industry: Competitive Challenge to 2000.'' The 27.2 million units forecast for western Europe in 2000 will still be below the peak of 27.5 million in 1990.
It should be noted, however, that the EIU study considers Mexico part of Latin America, where growth in demand for truck tires is forecast at 3.1 percent per year. Parallel to overall growth, the truck tire market in Latin America will change steadily to radials, which now make up 27 percent of the market, the study indicates.
The study also forecasts solid recoveries in demand for both passenger and truck tires in eastern Europe and Russia, with annual increases of more than 5 percent in each case. Other sources are not quite as optimistic, especially regarding Russia, where capacity utilization is said to be below 33 percent.
Worldwide sales of tires will exceed 1 billion units during the year 2000, up from approximately 883 million units last year, EIU said.
Yokohama Rubber Co., Kumho & Co. and Hankook Tire Manufacturing Co. Ltd. are seen as the fastest growing major tire makers, with several of the emerging Chinese companies also forecast to rise into the top 20 tire makers' ranking.
To order the study, contact: ``The World Tyre Industry: Competitive Challenge to 2000,'' Economist Intelligence Unit, 15 Regent St., London SW1Y 4LR United Kingdom. The cost is $770.