With the number of vehicles hitting the road increasing day by day the demand for good quality tyres has steadily increased along with it. Sri Lanka has primarily dealt with the increase in demand with a combination of local manufacturers and imports. However with the worldwide spread of the pandemic forcing the government to implement trade restrictions the tyre industry in Sri Lanka is facing a grave crisis.
To understand the crisis one must understand the roots of such an event, a little known fact about tyres is that similar to food items they too have an expiration date. This expiration date is usually inscribed in the form of a 4 digit code on the side of the tyre. The reason for such a date is that tyres regardless of being in constant use or being in storage at the optimum conditions become brittle over time, due to Sri Lanka’s tropical climate it is advised that tyres be replaced every 6 years.
The most in demand tyre variety at the moment is the Passenger Car Radial (PCR) variety which is best suited for a multitude of cars and other vehicles. The largest local manufacturer CEAT produces over 500 000 units per year. The crisis has been further exacerbated by their being no other prominent local suppliers. It is recommended that in order to mitigate the crisis that tyres from local manufacturers primarily focusing on the export market be introduced.
The crisis has resulted in a multitude of Ludacris social media posts claiming to sell top quality tyres when in fact they are nothing more than old ‘refurbished’ tyres. Con artists have gone to the extent of selling tyres filled with straw in order to gain a quick buck. With the use of tyres below the standard quality motorists run a greater risk of getting into accidents involving low quality tyres. Prices of tyres have also experienced a significant increase due to the shortage.
TechSci Research Report titled ‘Sri Lanka Tyre Market Forecast & Opportunities 2021’ stated that a growth of 12.59% is forecasted at CAGR for the 2016-2021 time period with the increase in demand for 2 wheeler and 3 wheeler tyres.
The government has used the pandemic as a means of reorganizing several of its economic policies. With the implementation of worldwide trade restrictions the government too has restricted the trade of many exports to promote self sufficiency and is encouraging local producers to increase their production threshold to meet the growing demand. Local producers such as CEAT have gone on to expand their already impressive portfolio to comply with the government requests. However if other manufacturers fail to follow the footsteps the tyre crisis has the potential to get even worse in the foreseeable future.
No.820, Mount Cresent,Malabe,Sri Lanka