WASHINGTON—U.S. production of consumer and commercial tires last year fell 5.6 percent, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association's 2013 Tire Industry Factbook.
Production of car, light truck and medium/heavy truck tires dropped 5.6 percent to 161.9 million units, the lowest annual total in the past 20 years. It also comes after production rebounded in 2010 and 2011 from a nine-year slide, the RMA data show.
The falloff in production parallels declines in replacement market shipments across the board and is in contrast to increased imports in all the major categories as well as measured against billions of dollars of investment committed to U.S. factories in the past couple of years.
In passenger tires, imports exceeded U.S. production for the first time, 126 million units vs. 123.2 million, the RMA data show.
By product category, the production declines were:
* Passenger tires, down 6.1 percent to 123.2 million units;
* Light truck tires, down 2.4 percent to 25.5 million units; and
* Medium/heavy truck tires, down 7 percent to 13.2 million units.
Shipment declines were:
* Car tires, down 1.5 percent to 191.4 million units;
* Light truck tires, down 2.1 percent to 28 million units; and
* Medium/heavy truck tires, down 3.9 percent to 15.9 million units.
Exports of auto and medium/truck tires also fell. Original equipment tire shipments rose in all three categories, including a 12.1-percent gain in passenger tires.