National tire shortage impacts consumers, especially farmers

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MONROE (WANE) — A national tire shortage is impacting consumers all over, including Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio. Zurcher Tire Warehouse in Monroe used to be one of the largest distributors in the country, and they are feeling the effects of the shortage.

Zurcher’s director of purchasing, Nate Thieme, and sales manager, Dennis Call, showed WANE 15 the business’ warehouses where areas that used to be filled from floor to ceiling with tires now barely hold any inventory.

Thieme said that manufacturers simply aren’t getting much product out and aren’t able to give much information either. He said demand is outpacing supply and there have been issues getting containers from other countries.

“It can be frustrating because we get all the calls from the sales teams asking where the tires are at and then we’re the middle man between the sales team and the suppliers a lot of the times, and the information the suppliers are giving us is very limited,” Thieme said.

He outlined potential causes for the shortage: raw materials being harder to get, COVID-19, and a worker shortage making it more difficult to move the product that is available. Thieme said the time it takes to get tires off of ships at ports and delivered is taking two to five weeks longer than it used to.

He and Call both said that this isn’t hurting buyers who are looking to upgrade or change the tires on their regular cars. The big hit has been to the agriculture industry.

“It’s a big hit to them because this year the farmers, like it or not, have money to spend because they had a good year, and they can’t spend it on certain products,” Call said. “We’ve seen it back into the implement end of it. We have a lot of manufacturers putting out implement products – combines, tractors – without tires and wheels on them. They’re sending them out on blocks.”

Call added that their workload has increased because retailers and buyers who usually get their products from Zurcher online are now calling in because they can’t find what they’re looking for.

“We tell them if you need something, you think you’re going to see it in the near future, put the stuff on order. That way when we do see the stuff show up, we get it allocated to you. If you don’t order it and you expect to see it show up on the website or whatever, it’ll probably already be gone because if we get 100 of them in, we probably have 150 sold,” Call said.

Thieme told WANE 15 that he’s heard from major suppliers that the belief is the tire shortage will continue through most of 2022.

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