Tyres price hike warning issued

Car tyres may get more expensive soon, an industry representative has warned.Continental AG board member Nikolai Setzer said today (Thurs) soaring rubber trade rates could lead to higher customer prices. He added price hikes of seven to eight per cent were possible if price developments on the global trading market do not calm down.Hanover-based Continental is one of the busiest manufacturers of tyres in Europe. The firm shut its plant in Traiskirchen near Vienna – where Semperit tyres were produced – last year.The town’s Social Democratic (SPÖ) Fritz Knotzer caused a stir by announcing his office will only acquire products by competitors of Continental as a reaction to the closure. Continental once employed more than 1,000 workers in the town.Knotzer also called on the Austrian government coalition, which is formed by the SPÖ and the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP), to react to the shutdown of the facility. The mayor said: “Political leaders should blacklist firms which act as inhumanely as Continental did.”Knotzer added the company was “putting its profit interests over the well-being of people”.Setzer meanwhile said an overall 10 per cent more tyres may have been sold in Austria in 2010 than in the previous year. He added Continental has a two-digit market share in the country but refused to give a more precise estimation.The Continental official said he saw a lot of potential for growth in Southeast Europe.