WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 17, 2009)—U.S. tire shipments will decline more than 7 percent his year, but rebound slightly in 2010, according to the latest forecast from the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
The RMA projects U.S. tire shipments will decline more than 7 percent this year before rebounding slightly in 2010.
The prediction is much worse than the association's last estimate, and reflects the severity of the economic downturn. On Dec. 1, the RMA forecast a 1 percent decline in overall shipments for 2009.
The grip's Tire Market Analysis Committee said shipments will decrease for the second consecutive year, to 261 million units from 283 million units in 2008. Shipments last year fell nearly 9 percent from 2007, including a 5-percent, 10.2 million tire decline in replacement passenger tires to 193.8 million units.
The RMA cited the continued erosion of consumer confidence, higher unemployment, depressed auto sales, a decline in vehicle miles traveled and downward revisions in domestic economic conditions for its forecast.
The projected 21 million decline in 2009 will bring total tire shipments to a level last experienced in 1993 and approximately 60 million units fewer than the 321 million unit peak in 2000, the RMA said. Shipments are expected to recover modestly in 2010 to about 270 million units.
Original equipment shipments will experience the greatest declines this year, the RMA said, with passenger OE passenger, light truck and medium/wide base/heavy on-highway truck tire shipments falling 22, 31 and 30 percent, respectively, to 29 million, 2 million and 2.6 million units.
Last year OE passenger tire shipments fell 18.7 percent to 37.6 million units, OE light truck tire shipments were off 34.5 percent to 2.9 million units; and medium commercial truck tire shipments fell 17.6 percent to 3.8 million units.
Next year, though, the RMA anticipates a rebound of nearly 6 million passenger OE units as vehicle sales and domestic production recover in an improving economy. OE light truck shipments could rebound by as many as 300,000 units, while OE medium/wide base/on-highway heavy truck tire demand could surge back by more than 20 percent, or 600,000 units.
Shipments of replacement passenger tires will slide nearly 3.5 percent, or about 7 million units, to 187 million units before rebounding marginally in 2010 to about 190 million units on “measured” consumer growth.
Replacement light truck tire shipments likely will fall 8 percent this year to about 27 million units on declining economic conditions and fewer vehicle miles traveled, the RMA said. This follows a drop of 14 percent, or 4.8 million units, in 2008.
Shipments of these tires in 2010 could rebound by as much as 6 percent, though, in line with commercial economic forecasts, the RMA said.
Replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway truck tire shipments are projected to fall 1.6 million units, or 10.8 percent, this year to 13.2 million units before recovering in 2010 to nearly 14 million units.
In 2008, shipments of these tires slid 10.4 percent to 14.8 million units.