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Europe tire makers shut down as coronavirus hits automotive sector

  • Author
  • Callum Colford
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Fox
  • Commodity
  • Petrochemicals
  • Tags
  • Butadiene
  • Topic
  • Coronavirus and Commodities

Tire makers across Europe are slowing or closing production as the coronavirus pandemic and measures put in place to combat its spread have forced a shutdown of the European automotive industry.

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Major tire producer Michelin said in a statement that it was closing production sites in European countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic "for at least one week."

The French company said coronavirus had reduced demand in the "global passenger car and light truck tire market, down 9% year on year, and the truck tire market, down 16%."

Italian tire producer Pirelli has slowed production at its site near Turin after a worker contracted the virus. The company has also shut production at its site in Slatina, Romania, due to prevailing market conditions.

The European automotive industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with demand slumping and production halted at multiple manufacturers.

Producers including BMW, Honda, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan have halted production in response to market conditions and supply chain disruptions.

Volkswagen Group has suspended production at several of its sites and affiliates, including Volkswagen suspending production at its sites in Germany, Slovakia, Portugal and Spain for two weeks, Scania suspending production at its sites in Sweden, the Netherlands and France for up to two weeks, and Porsche suspending production for an initial period of two weeks.

The market for styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), a key component in tire production, has been in the doldrums since mid-2019 on persistently sluggish demand amid a subdued auto market. Platts assessed the European SBR grade 1500/1502 spot price at Eur1080/mt FD NWE Friday.