WASHINGTON (June 26)—U.S. tire shipments continued to slip in March and posted negative numbers through the first quarter. Total U.S. shipments in March hit 28.6 million units, a 12.7-percent decline over the year-earlier month. Overall shipments dropped 11.8 percent to 78.1 million units through the first quarter from 88.7 million units, according to data gathered by the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Canadian replacement shipments also slipped in March and for the three-month period, according to the Rubber Association of Canada. For the month, overall Canadian shipments registered 1.3 million units, an 11.5-percent decrease from March 2000. Shipments for the quarter dropped 4.8 percent to 3.4 million units from 3.57 million.