WASHINGTON (Aug. 5, 2008) — U.S. tire shipments could fall as much as 4 percent this year, to fewer than 300 million units, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
The projected drop in shipments reflects the worsening domestic economic pressures predicted for both the consumer and commercial sectors, the RMA said, with original equipment shipments falling by double-digit percentages.
The combined 2008 original equipment and replacement tire shipments for light vehicle and truck categories are expected to fall by more than 12 million units to about 298 million total shipments.
Replacement passenger tire shipments will drop nearly 1 percent, the RMA said, to about 202 million units, as a slowing economy and high energy prices are affecting consumer driving habits. Demand in 2009 likely will be unchanged because of continuing difficult economic conditions.
Replacement light truck tire shipments could be off as much as 7 percent this year to about 32 million units and another 5 percent next year as the owners of light commercial vehicles are driving them less amid the declining economic conditions, the RMA said.
Replacement shipments of medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tires should slide 3.5 percent this year to about 16 million units as the weakening economy means fewer goods are being transported.
OE car tire shipments are expected to fall 11 percent to about 41 million units, the lowest volume of OE tire shipments since 1991 when the OE sector accounted for 41.8 million units, the RMA said.