WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 10, 2012)—U.S. replacement consumer tire shipments are expected to rise slightly in the second half of 2012 on increased miles driven, but the gains won't be enough to keep shipments for the entire year from slipping below the 2011 levels, the Rubber Manufacturers Association said.
Original equipment tire shipments, on the other hand, will be up nearly 16 percent for 2012 for both the light vehicle and commercial truck markets as continued pent-up demand will add to domestic new vehicle sales and production, the RMA said.
For the year, the RMA said it expects replacement passenger tire shipments to fall nearly 1 percent, or about 2 million units, to 192 million units as pent-up demand for aftermarket tires has failed to materialize. The RMA attributes this in part to softer economic conditions than previously forecasted.
Replacement light truck tire shipments are expected to drop 900,000 units, or 3 percent, to 28 million units as growing demand for new light truck vehicles is cutting into demand for replacement tires.
However, the RMA said it anticipates stronger second half growth in 2012 given the soft market conditions in the latter part of 2011.
Reduced demand by trucking fleets for replacement medium/wide-base/heavy commercial truck tires will result in a 6-percent decline in shipments to 15.5 million units. By contrast, pent-up demand for new commercial trucks and trailers and a forecasted 4-percent increase in the Industrial Production Index in 2012 will drive growth in OE truck tires by 12 percent, or nearly 600,000 units, to 5.5 million units.
Overall tire shipments in 2012 are expected to rise about 1.2 percent—or slightly more than 3 million units—to 288 million units, the RMA said.
OE passenger tire shipments should rise 7 million units, or slightly more than 18 percent, to 42 million units on higher domestic production of more than 14 million vehicles.
OE light truck tire shipments should rise about 1 percent to 4.2 million units as domestic vehicle production using LT tires will experience a small increase tempered by soft economic conditions in this commercial sector.