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Michelin's sales dropped 14.2% during 1Q


Groupe Michelin posted net sales of 3.5 billion euros for the first quarter of 2009, a 14.2% decline from the same period in 2008.

Michelin's passenger and light truck tire sales totaled 1.94 billion euros in the first quarter of 2009, down 9.8% from the same period during the previous year.

"Except in China, tire markets around the world fell sharply during the first quarter, as carmakers slashed production and drastically drew down inventories over the period," say Michelin officials.

Commenting on replacement consumer tire sales, "the market contraction observed in late 2008 gained momentum in the first quarter, as motorists continued to cut back on miles driven and lower their average speed, retailers continued to focus on reducing inventories, and the economic slowdown gradually spread to emerging markets."

In North America, consumer tire demand "seems to have stabilized, but at very weak levels."

Meanwhile, Michelin's net truck tire sales fell 24.2% to slightly more than one billion euros, as most truck manufacturers "sharply scaled back production to preserve their finances and right-size their inventories," say officials.

Replacement truck tire sales "were adversely affected by the decline in freight tonnage caused by the global economic slowdown and ensuing contraction in international trade. Other negative factors included inventory drawdowns as retailers sought to optimize working capital and a drop in fleet orders as carriers used up their tire stocks or recycled tires from idled trucks."



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