WASHINGTON (Nov. 3, 2009)—U.S. tire shipments will fall about 13 percent for 2009, according to a revised Rubber Manufacturers Association forecast that is slightly less pessimistic than one released in August.
Sharp decreases in the original equipment markets for both passenger and commercial truck tires are behind the falloff in deliveries, the trade organization said.
Total 2009 shipments will be an estimated 246 million tires, compared with 282 million in 2008 and 321 million in the peak year of 2000, the RMA said. In August, the group predicted shipments would fall to about 237 million units.
High unemployment and low consumer confidence have combined to create hard times for both auto makers and OE tire suppliers, according to the new report. However, the consumer and commercial sectors seem poised for a partial rebound in 2010, and the RMA projected a 6-percent increase in shipments to 260 million for next year.
OE passenger tire shipments will decrease nearly 43 percent in 2009 to 22 million units, but an economic upturn should bring shipments in that sector close to 30 million in 2020, the association said.
OE light truck shipments should fall 9 percent in 2009 to about 2.7 million and remain flat in 2010. In the OE commercial truck market, the RMA said there will be a 41-percent decline to 2.3 million units in 2009, but pent-up demand should raise that figure by approximately 350,000 tires in 2010.
Replacement passenger tire shipments should total about 180 million in 2009, a 6-percent drop from 2008, but the RMA expects those numbers to grow to about 184 million in 2010.
In the light truck replacement sector, shipments should total about 26 million—an 11-percent decrease from 2008—and remain flat in 2010 because of weak economic forecasts and the effects of tariffs on imports of Chinese passenger and light truck tires, the RMA said.
Replacement commercial truck tire shipments should fall from 14.9 million last year to 12.6 million in 2009, and rise only to approximately 13 million in 2010, the association said.