The recent crisis experienced by the rubber sector has a very negative impact on the automotive industry. Indeed, this material, necessary for the manufacturing of tires and other elements used in the automotive industry, has recently been suffering from a shortage that could become even more acute in the current context.

Several causes are put forward to explain this rubber crisis.

The causes of the shortage

The world’s supply of natural rubber – about 20 million tons per year – is produced almost entirely by small, divided farmers who cultivate plots of land in tropical forests. This production, which represents 85% of the world’s natural rubber, is now under threat.

According to expert André Tchokogué, associate professor in the Department of Operations and Logistics Management at HEC Montreal, the rubber crisis started well before 2021. For him, 2015 was marked by low production that was unable to meet demand. A sharp drop in prices was also observed during this year. This had the effect of discouraging many producers who ended up abandoning rubber in favor of other more profitable crops such as oil palm.

In addition, farmers overexploit the land to compensate for the low productivity of the rubber tree. Indeed, this plant needs 7 years to be able to produce properly.

The numerous diseases

In addition, the climatic problem can be mentioned as a cause of the low rubber production.

So many factors causing the low yields of an industry set in motion by numerous taxes.

The impact of the pandemic on demand

The covid pandemic that has hit the entire globe has not spared the rubber sector.

Demand has increased with the pandemic, especially in the medical sector as rubber is used in the manufacture of protective gloves.

Travel habits have also been disrupted. Public transport, which is considered to be a hotbed for the spread of the virus, has been shunned by its usual users who have preferred to use personal vehicles.

What does the future hold for the automotive sector?

Experts are reassuring that it is unlikely that there will be a shortage of tires or other automotive parts using rubber, given the commitments of the rubber industry players such as Prime Prestige and the automotive industry. These commitments concern the respect of sustainable development in the consideration of the rubber production chain as a whole. However, price increases are in prospect.


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