WASHINGTON—U.S. tire shipments last year ended up 2.7 percent ahead of 2003 after gaining 8.7 percent in December.
Canadian deliveries increased 5.7 percent for the year despite falling 6.4 percent for the month, the Rubber Association of Canada reported.
Most U.S. categories posted improved numbers for the month and year, but original equipment numbers continued to lag behind 2003´s performances, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Passenger shipments jumped 8.3 percent for December and 1.7 percent for 2004, but OE deliveries fell 2.8 percent for both the month and year.
Light truck figures showed marked improvement for December but only slight gains for the year, with a 7.5-percent decline in OE shipments leaving the overall category ahead 3.7 percent for 2004.
The medium and heavy truck segments reported the largest growth for the month and the year. OE medium truck deliveries skyrocketed in December and 2004, bringing the overall category up 15.1 and 13.2 percent, respectively. Heavy truck shipments surged 16.7 percent for the month and 10 percent for the year.
Most Canadian segments saw declines for December but registered gains for 2004. Despite 19.6-percent growth in the passenger OE segment, the overall category fell 6.7 percent for the month. It increased 6.1 percent for the year on the back of strong OE shipments.
Light truck deliveries didn´t fare as well for either reporting period. Weak replacement and OE numbers left the segment down 12.4 percent for December and 2.2 percent for 2004.