Tire Wholesalers Company, Inc.

What is happening in the passenger and light truck markets?
Passenger and light truck tire sales recovered in second quarter 2008. In Michigan, passenger tire sales were up 6% from April-June 2008, while light truck tire sales in Michigan were even with last year. This is the best report for tire sales in over two years. Year to date, passenger tire sales in Michigan are down -1.3%, and light truck tire sales are down -5.1%, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). Most experts see a sharp decline in light truck tire sales coming in the next 3-4 years.

What is happening in the medium truck tire market?
In the medium truck market, OE unit sales are down 20% this year. This means the big three first tier MTR suppliers, Michelin, Bridgestone and Goodyear, have more units in the aftermarket, driving the price of medium truck tires down. In turn, the second tier suppliers; mainly Yokohama, Toyo, Dunlop, Continental, Firestone and BFGoodrich, are sharpening their pencils to maintain the spread expected between the tiers.

The 1st and 2nd tier manufacturers both share the advantages of robust domestic capacity along with freight and import tax and duty savings. These advantages are helping to narrow the gap between the third tier suppliers.

The third tier suppliers are dominated by offshore manufacturers like Hankook and Kumho in Korea; and CMA and GT in China. This tier has only one advantage in common with the domestic tiers - a good understanding of the North American MTR market. This awareness can be attributed to solid field and management presence in the U.S.

The fourth tier, primarily out of China, made up of Long March, Wanli and various other brands is in a state of instability. The recent challenges are caused by the escalation of raw materials and transportation costs combined with a misunderstanding of what it takes to be competitive in North America with the level of price compression that is occurring between the tiers. These forth tire brands suddenly are not as competitive.

CMA and GT want to protect their business in North America. They understand the trends, and are actively and aggressively attempting to secure more market share.

For the moment, CMA and GT medium truck tires are very competitive (quality for price), and CMA and GT tires are available through Tire Wholesalers Inc. (TWI). TWI will keep you up-to-date on market trends as they occur.



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Troy Distribution Center
1783 E. 14 Mile Road
Troy, Michigan 48083-4617

PH: (248) 589-9910
FX: (248) 589-9919

Southfield Distribution Center
19240 W. 8 Mile Road
Southfield, Michigan 48075

PH: (248) 354-9910
FX: (248) 354-0074

Cadillac Distribution Center
303 Hanthorn Street
Cadillac, Michigan 49601-1021

PH: (231) 775-6666
FX: (231) 775-8810

Kalmazoo Distribution Center
1330 Healy Street
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49048

PH: (269) 349-9401
FX: (269) 349-9435