WASHINGTON (Feb. 15, 2011)—U.S. tire production and demand rebounded even more than a tire makers' trade group reported in December, with output rising 15 percent and shipments 10 percent from the previous year.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association data show aftermarket shipments exhibited surprising strength. Passenger tire demand rose 6.3 percent to 201.3 million units, light truck tire demand 5.8 percent to 29.1 million units and medium/heavy truck and bus tire 22.5 percent to 15.6 million units.
Each category shipment figure is higher than the forecast the RMA issued in mid-December. The organization has not released revised 2011 projections to reflect the higher 2010 shipments; at that time the RMA said “economic uncertainties” will temper growth in 2011 to the low single digits.
Tire production by companies with U.S. plants grew by double digits in all categories: passenger tires up 13.7 percent to 134.9 million units; light truck tires up 13.3 percent to 23.9 million; and truck/bus tires up 35.5 percent to 12.3 million units.
Despite the growth, U.S. consumer and commercial tire production of 171.1 million units last year was the second lowest in the past couple of decades.