As of this post, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has ballooned to a whopping 17 million. Of that, more than 500,000 people have succumbed to the disease. North America, specifically the United States, has the most cases in the world. With the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, no sector has been left unaffected. This is true for the tire industry.
The last few months have seen a shift in rules and regulation surrounding commercial trucking and vehicle travel. There have been plenty of border closures that aim to halt the spread of the disease.
As a fleet owner, it is important to remain up to date with news surrounding COVID-19 and the tire industry. Thankfully, you don’t have to look any further. We have collated important tire industry updates from across the country below:
Because of stay-in shelter guidelines imposed by several states, there has been a noticeable decrease in traffic volume in the last few months. A report by the Auto Care Association revealed that personal travel has dropped 38% – 48% during the work week. Likewise, commercial trucking travel has also decreased by 20% around mid-March.
Of all the states, Michigan has experienced the steepest decline in traffic volume. Personal travel has decreased by more than 50% while commercial trucking travel was reduced to less than 60%.
The current coronavirus hasn’t only plagued the human population’s health, but it has also created havoc in most country’s economies. Despite the financial and economic repercussions, however, trucking dealers are more concerned about the general population’s safety – especially as borders start to re-open and restrictions are either relaxed, or re-imposed.
According to Greg Mynaugh, president of United Tire and Services L.L.C., the safety of reopening borders depend on the severity of COVID-19 spread in a specific area:
“Opening up the country is not something that we can or should do across the board…It might) make total sense in Wyoming but certainly does not in Philadelphia or the Northeast, right now” laments Mynaugh.
As of May, eight Bridgestone employees stationed in the company’s Iowa plant tested positive for COVID-19. As a response to the results, the company has put in place more rigid measures in order to curb the spread of the virus within their premises.
In a statement, Bridgestone has explained that disinfection of the plant has been implemented. Likewise, people who have come in contact with the eight positive cases area already self-quarantining.
Similar to the decline of traffic volumes across the country, there has also been a decrease in demand for tires and tire products. The downturn in wholesale business is due largely to the decrease in consumers purchasing from local tire retailers.
COVID-19 has changed the face of most industries – for better or for worse. However, there is always a silver lining.
The current crisis is temporary. With this temporary decline in demand for tire products, now is the possibly best time to be searching Google for “commercial truck tires near me.” So if your fleet needs a tire change, now is a great time to call STTC. You may be able to get some of the best deals – and help the local economy. A definite win-win!