AKRON - Tire dealers participating in TIRE BUSINESS' Rapid Response Fax Poll said tire and automotive service sales remained strong in the second quarter of 1996, compared with a year ago. On average, tire sales in dealerships across the country increased 5.07 percent over the 1995 quarter while automotive service sales gained 6.63 percent, according to respondents in the fax poll.
Dealers in the West and Midwest most consistently reported increased tire sales. In fact, 80 percent of those in the western U.S. said their sales increased.
Dealers reported retail prices up about 1/2 percent over the 1995 period. The cost of doing business, including goods sold, rose 2.02 percent, however.
In particular, a couple of dealers mentioned large increases associated with the cost of performing air conditioning service work-in part from rising Freon costs.
When asked to describe the economic climate in their areas, 37 percent said it was better than the year-earlier period. Fifty-one percent described it as unchanged.
Looking ahead to the third quarter, 78 percent of the dealers said they believe auto service sales will increase, while 64 percent of the dealers said they believe tire sales will improve.
Generally, the dealers said they believe retail prices will not change during the next quarter, but 68 percent expect costs to rise.
Dealers in largely agricultural areas said they believe business will improve during the third quarter due to favorable growing conditions during the spring.