The global tyre market grew in 2017. The strongest growth was seen in SUV tyres and summer tyres with a high speed rating. Out of Nokian Tyres’ main markets, Russia saw the strongest increase in demand. The sales of passenger car tyres are mostly affected by the sale of new vehicles, the development of buying power, and general consumer confidence in the economy.
Approximately 12 million car and van tyres are estimated to be sold each year in Finland, Sweden, and Norway, of which about half are winter tyres. In 2017, the passenger car tyre market shrunk by 6% in the Nordic countries, even though sales of new cars grew by 2%. Nokian Tyres is the only Nordic tyre manufacturer and retained its stable market leadership within the region. In 2017, Nordic countries comprised nearly 40% of our net sales.
Central Europe is a growth market for Nokian Tyres. Approximately 260 million passenger car and van tyres are sold each year on the European market (excluding the Nordic countries). The region is also the world’s largest winter tyre market. In 2017, the overall tyre market in Central Europe grew moderately. We were able to increase our sales in Other Europe through sales and marketing investments and new products, in particular. In 2017, Other Europe comprised nearly 28% of our net sales.
As the overall economy improved and private consumption slowly started picking up, sales of new cars grew by 12% in Russia in 2017. The sell-in of summer and winter tyres also grew. Nokian Tyres was able to meet the high demand through local manufacturing and grew much faster than the market. The share of Russia and CIS grew to nearly 21% of our net sales. Nokian Tyres is the largest tyre manufacturer in Russia and the market leader for A and B segment tyres.
The United States is the world’s largest market for vehicles. The sales of SUVs and pickups, in particular, are growing and increasing the demand for tyres. However, the overall tyre market growth is slow. Nearly 260 million tyres are sold each year in the US and Canada. North America is one of the growth markets for Nokian Tyres. In recent years, our focus has been on Canada and the US snowbelt, which are also our strongest regions. Our goal is to expand our product offering and sales especially in All-Season tyres and across a more extensive geographical area. In 2017, North America accounted for nearly 11% of our net sales.