Frugal Shopper: Experts Say Tire-Tariff Price Spike Looms Ahead Page 2

October 22, 2009

Pirelli Cyber Tire

Here's why several experts we spoke with think that a price adjustment is coming at the affordable end of the market, with a ripple to the middle. On the original-equipment (OE) side, no manufacturer currently supplies new-car tires from China (though several models of temporary spares are made there). However in the aftermarket, more than 39.5 million units in a 190+ million market are supplied by China. That's one fifth of the market. And according to data from Crain's Tire Business, a trade publication covering the tire industry, we've come to rely on China to supply the smallest sizes. As of last year, 54 percent of U.S.-market 13-inch tires and 46 percent of 14-inchers were from China. For 15-inch tires, China supplies just under a third, and for 16-inch and above the supply becomes insignificant.

So you see, while most drivers shouldn't sweat this one, small-car owners and cheapskates might want to get some new rubber before the price hike reaches your corner tire shop.

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Watching every penny of your motoring budget? Want to know when, where, and how to save the most when shopping, maintaining, and upgrading? You’ve found the right place with our Frugal Shopper column—check back at TheCarConnection.com for more.

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