RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — The tire business is on the rebound after a pandemic-induced slowdown in March and April, according to Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc. (SRNA).
Contributing to the upbeat forecast is the fact that SRNA's Falken Fanatic associate dealer program is on track to set record sales in the second quarter, SRNA executives said during the fourth SRNA COVID-19 Dealer Resource Forum, held online June 17.
"It really looks like this recovery is the real deal. It will be long term. If there is no recurrence of COVID-19, we think this will be a full recovery," Matt Leeper, SRNA director of sales – consumer, said.
"Purchases for most dealers, year-to-date, is projecting very close to 2019. … Almost every dealer is claiming that June is up."
For the Fanatic program, "Q2 will be best quarter we've ever had as far as our distributors selling tires to their Fanatic dealers. It could be tied to our bonus, which is a 40% bonus on their dollars paid out for Fanatic purchases in Q2. But we are going to beat our best quarter ever in Q2," Mr. Leeper said.
Overall, SRNA's tire orders slowed down in April, but it is reporting an "unprecedented" amount of orders in June, exceeding its budget set last December. And the company claims it increased its market share by more than 1% during the business slowdown.
"It does look like June will be an all-time record month for Sumitomo Rubber North America," Mr. Leeper declared.
"It seems as though consumers have both time and money, which is very conducive for them having their vehicles serviced. Consumers are not buying new vehicles right now, so they're having to service their current vehicles, and we feel like consumers are planning on driving more and flying less. They're also planning on quite a bit of travel in a consolidated summer. All those things paint a pretty picture for our business and the tire industry overall moving forward."