This autumn, the Working Group Rim Manufacturers of the German Tyre Retailer and Vulcanization Trade Association (Bundesverbandes Reifenhandel und Vulkaniseur-Handwerk e.V. - BRV) again met for their autumn meeting, which was used by the Cologne based consultancy BBE Automotive GmbH in order to present the current results of the Rim/Wheel-Sell-In Panel. Twice a year, the members of the working group announce the sell-in volumes for the past six months (exclusively passenger car replacement market; without sales to vehicle manufacturers and importers), assess independently from each other the remaining demand and forecast the future development.
Based on the data, BBE sets up a valid sell-in market volume as well as a forecast for the current year and trends for the three or four years to come. The latest evaluation came to the following results: For the first six months, the panel participants remain at an average of “exactly satisfactory” (3.0) and consider the situation to be slightly better compared with the same period in the previous year (3.14). The panel participants’ forecast is relatively more hesitant in the segment of alloy wheel for the second half of the year than in the year before. Nonetheless, all in all a volume which will be three percentage points higher than the forecast at the beginning of the year is expected for the whole year.
Furthermore, there is a continuing trend of light metal replacing heavy metal. Although the decline in the segment of steel wheels was lower in the first half of 2016 than in the same period of the previous year, the panel participants are of the opinion that the decline will not have come to an end. The forecast sell-in sales of steel rims are supposed to achieve nearly 30 per cent of the total market volume in 2016, whereas the rest is to be covered by alloy wheels. A further trend, which has been noticeable for some time, refers to the tyre sizes. As expected, sales of smaller inch sizes (13 and 14 inches) are further decreasing or stagnating, while sales in the middle field, e.g. sizes from 17 to 20 inches, have been increasing.
Moreover, the consultancy was interested in the three main challenges the industry will probably have to cope with until the year 2020. The following three points were mentioned by the wheel manufacturers: First of all, increased competition of original equipment suppliers with replacement market suppliers. Based on technical developments, which will move the customers more and more towards car dealerships, the vehicle manufacturers / importers will make the business with wheels. There are even three aspects in the second position of the ‘hit list’: falling development of the change over potential because of all-season tyres, less enthusiasm of younger target groups concerning cars and its equipment as well as the growth of the online trade and its impact. The third challenge refers to economic aspects like customs for cheap imports, stability of prices and guaranteed profitability.
Additionally, there was the following question: “According to some media, the self-driving, totally connected car will be available until 2030. Will there be any impact on your industry?“ About three fifths of the panel participants, and thus the majority, answered with “yes”. The rim manufacturers even consider the impact on their own business as more negative. “The already happening change in the automobile and tyre industry will enormously influence the business of the rim manufacturers. The top challenges for them are identified. Possible solutions will be necessary in order to cope with these challenges. Future panel evaluations will show to what extent the rim industry will succeed”, said Peter Hülzer, Managing Director of BRV.