WASHINGTON (March 10, 2008) – The Rubber Manufacturers Association said it expects original equipment tire demand to fall this year and replacement passenger and light truck tire shipments to increase moderately.
OE demand for passenger tires will drop about 4 percent to 44 million units this year as domestic vehicle production declines due to sales trends and a soft economic climate, the RMA said. This will mark the sixth consecutive year that domestic light vehicle production has decreased and the third consecutive year of decreased vehicle sales.
OE light truck tire shipments will slip about 6 percent to 4.2 million units on lower domestic vehicle production.
Demand for replacement passenger and light truck tires should rise about 1.5 percent over 2007 shipments, the RMA said, to 207 million and 35 million units, respectively, as the current economic environment will dampen growth for both categories. Replacement passenger tire shipments should continue growing in 2009, by about 2 percent, the RMA forecast.
By contrast, replacement medium truck tire shipments are expected to fall 1.6 percent, while OE truck tire sales will rebound by slightly more than 1 percent.