Combine rising raw materials costs, reduced production capacity and manufacturing bottlenecks, and the result for the world of tires is this: not enough hoops to satisfy automaker demand. According to Automotive News, even before The Great Recession hit, a Bridgestone tire executive said that plant closures alone killed 71 million units of capacity in the U.S. New factories and factory expansions are on the way, but they won't run at full power until 2013.
Current production is also slowed down by having to construct low-volume tires and niche sizes, with more specialty cars and more sizes on the market. On top of that, the prices of materials like steel, carbon black and rubber that go into tires have risen an average of 52% in each of the last two years, sending tire prices "up very sharply."

Although it's predicted that "the shortage won't be resolved any time soon," from the looks of it car manufacturers are in control of the situation – as well they must be, since they can't sell cars without tires. OEMs haven't discussed what its done to the bottom line – or how much of the cost is passed on to buyers – but if you see spec sheets begin to list more tire makes as original equipment, maybe this is why.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Mark Werther
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hmmmm, could this lack of tires have something to do with the sudden rise in popularity of drifting as an organized sport?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mark Werther
      • 3 Years Ago
      This sounds like a bad thing, but the reality is that (for the most part) its actually a good thing. A lack of supply means that these tire companies will have to expand, which means more construction jobs, hiring more working and presumably making more money in the long run. Sure, it sucks that the cost of raw materials is going up, and in the short term this can be a little painful, but in the long-run this is positive for the economy.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dear Penthouse, I was driving down the road when a saw a stranded woman on the side of the road......
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Current production is also slowed down by having to construct low-volume tires and niche sizes, with more specialty cars and more sizes on the market." So, IOW, all those idiotic donk tires that people are putting on the trucks and SUVs. And no, that Escalade *doesn't* look better with a set of 30s. It just looks stupid.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Those huge dork tires sure make the drivers look stupid. Surprising how many of them want to advertise the fact.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      ... Retreads
      • 3 Years Ago
      I believe I ran into this problem a couple of months ago. I was looking for some 275/60-15 Firestone Indy 500's to go on our Dakota and they were backordered for a month. Then, when they finally became available, my preferred tire store couldn't get them through their normal dealers and had to special order them. They were plentiful when I put the last set on . . . . Funny thing - when I called Firestone to try to find out when they would be available, the customer service rep told me to check the Tire Rack site - they would have more up to date info on availablilty than he would!! How's that work - the seller has better info. than the manufacturer??
      John Galt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Given that they're putting crap tires on cars now-a-days like "starter cartridges" in Ink Jet printers I'm shocked that they're having any trouble getting crappy Chinese tires on cars. Nothing like a brand new $30k Camry with tires that are bald at 15,000 miles!!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      A rim/tire supplier I know made mention of this several months ago about ordering your summer tires earlier than we might of in the past due to the price increases he was expecting to see in the coming months. It stinks but with more cars being driven around the world this will sadly happen. Only bright side I can see is that maybe the tire manufacturers will be developing even longer lasting tire compounds.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yup, 2 years ago after shopping around i bought some kumhos for my bmw for ~$50 a pop 2 years later i paid $90/tire for the same tires.
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