Crain News Service report
MANCHESTER, England (May 21, 2014) — Global demand for tires will double in the coming three decades to about 2 billion units a year, but the industry's ability to meet that demand could be limited by a lack of natural rubber (NR), Bridgestone Corp. executive Keizo Akutagawa warned at the IRC RubberCon 2014 conference in Manchester.
Pressures on supply would drive up prices for NR and other raw materials, while tire makers would also face environmental issues when seeking to expand their manufacturing and supply-chain operations, according to Mr. Akutagawa, general manager of materials development.
“Since 2000, prices for natural rubber and oil have increased very rapidly due to growth in the Chinese economy,” Mr. Akutagawa said. “In future, we can expect to see this trend continue as the number of vehicles produced worldwide increases."