WASHINGTON (April 20)—U.S. tire shipments should rise 3.2 percent in 2004—better than previously expected—because of a rebound in commercial trucking and an improved economy, according to a new Rubber Manufacturers Association forecast.
The organization's Tire Market Analysis Committee last August forecast a 3-percent rise in shipments this year. The committee also now predicts total tire shipments will grow about 2 percent on an annual basis through 2009 as the nation's economy improves. In August the group said it expected a 3-percent average increase through 2008.
Last year total shipments grew 0.6 percent, the RMA said. Demand was strong in the aftermarket, but the light vehicle original equipment business declined.