WASHINGTON (March 14) — U.S. tire shipments this year will improve only slightly as lower original equipment demand offsets "limited growth" in the replacement sector, according to the latest forecast from the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
Replacement market demand is expected to be up in all categories, but only slightly over 2006, the RMA said. On the other hand, passenger and medium/heavy truck OE demand should slide from 2006 levels. The association said its forecast reflects moderate economic growth predicted for both consumer and commercial sectors.
Overall replacement market shipments should edge up about 1.4 percent this year over 2006, while OE shipments will fall 3.8 percent, leaving total industry shipments only about 0.3 percent ahead of 2006.