The number of studded winter tires on sale has halved and pushed prices up by 25 percent this year, Estonia's largest tire importer Rehvid24.ee has said.
The company said the deficit has been created because tires produced in Russia are no longer sold in Estonia and few companies make such products.
Seventy percent of Estonian cars use studded tires in winter and the majority of well-known brands, such as Bridgestone, Continental, Michelin and Pirelli, produced products for the northern European market in Russia.
But it has not been possible to import these goods to Europe since the summer, Marek Moorus, head of Rehvid24.ee, told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".
"If you can't actually import any more tires from Russia, if there is no production there, then the market will change in such a way that we will have half as many replacement tires on the market, let's say on the Nordic market — in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Compared to last year, manufacturers have increased tire prices for us as importers by an average of 20 to 25 percent" he said.
AK said out of 50 manufacturers only five make studded tires and, in the future, these goods may become expensive niche products.
Additionally, garages have raised their prices and changing tires has become more expensive, Moorus said. This is primarily due to small businesses previously offering cheap services.
"What has happened now is that, whereas most consumers thought that you could change tires in a garage somewhere for €30, what has really happened, unfortunately, is that the so-called garages, the one-man workshops, have raised prices from €30 to €50 to €60, for instance," he said.
Co-owner of garage Marja Autokumm in Tallinn's Kristiine district Alari Altjõe told AK tires produced cheaply in Asia have also become more expensive.
"Tires at the cheaper end of the market went up at the beginning of the pandemic because transport prices in China became so expensive. Whereas a container used to cost €2,000, suddenly it was €10,000, and that meant that you had to pay €5 to €10 more [for each tire], but it was a very big increase for tires in that price range," said Altjõe.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera