WASHINGTON (March 11)—U.S. tire shipments rose 2.7 percent last year, but foreign-made tires grabbed a larger share of the business as imports grew 11.6 percent while production by U.S. manufacturers fell 1.2 percent, according to the latest data from the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
Shipments of original equipment medium and heavy truck tires advanced the most, growing 38 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively, over 2003. OE light truck and car tire shipments, by contrast, fell 7.5 percent and 2.8 percent from 2003, the RMA data show.
In the aftermarket, shipments grew in all categories, led by heavy truck (up 7.9 percent), light truck (up 5.5 percent), medium truck (up 5 percent) and passenger (up 2.9 percent).
Exports also grew in all categories.
Overall production decreased last year, dragged down by 2-percent lower passenger tire output, the RMA data show. Production of light, medium and heavy truck tires, on the other hand, were all up.