The replacement market sales volume for car tyres increased in the Nordic countries by an estimated 2%. In Europe the volume was up by 3% with summer tyre sales declining and winter tyre deliveries increasing by 15%. In Russia the tyre industry deliveries to distributors increased by over 30%, trailing the improving economy, lower stocks of distributors and strong consumer confidence.
The second consecutive true winter with heavy snowfall prolonged in spring 2011 in all Europe and in Russia, resulting in strong winter tyre consumer sales and leaving retailers with low inventories in the end of the season. Late snowfall in the autumn 2011 had only little negative impact on winter tyre sales to consumers in Nokian Tyresí core markets in Nordic countries and Russia. Tyre stocks were still relatively low in distribution. Summer tyre market declined in Europe but increased significantly in Russia.
The demand for special heavy tyres remained good in 2011 although order book for forestry tyres started to weaken in Q4. The demand for new and retreaded truck tyres remained solid in Nokian Tyresí core markets.
The prices for natural rubber and oil-based materials rose significantly from early 2009 to mid-2011 and some materials were in short supply. In early 2011 raw material costs continued to go up triggering additional price increases from the tyre industry. At the end of 2011 raw material prices dropped and availability came back to normal. The tyre industry raw material costs rose still slightly towards the end of the year due to stocks purchased with higher prices.