WASHINGTON—The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association is projecting tire shipment growth across the board in 2018, albeit at rather modest rates ranging from 0.4 to 3.7 percent.
Overall, shipments of passenger, light and medium/heavy truck tires are forecast to rise 0.8 percent to 319.1 million units, the USTMA said, without indicating what factors are influencing its forecast.
The most promising category, the USTMA said, is OE truck tires, shipments of which are expected to rise 3.7 percent to 5.6 million units. This follows solid 9.7 percent growth in 2017 over 2016.
Shipments of replacement passenger tires, the largest single category, are expected to rise 0.4 percent to 210.6 million units, the USTMA said, while replacement light and medium truck tire shipments are forecast to rise 1.5 and 1.7 percent, respectively to 31.8 million and 20 million units.
OE passenger and light truck tire shipments should rise 1 and 1.4 percent, respectively, to 45.7 million and 5.5 million units.
The USTMA said this forecast was made "prior to recent U.S. tariff announcements affecting sources of imported steel" used in tire manufacturing.
The USTMA represents 11 tire companies, which collectively operate 56 tire-related plants in 18 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales, accounting for 82 percent of shipments referenced in the forecast