WASHINGTON—U.S. tire shipments in 2018 are expected to increase about 1 percent over 2017, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association.
Total U.S. shipments should rise to 319.8 million units, vs. 316.7 million in 2017, the association said, without offering any commentary as to what factors it takes into account for its forecasting.
The association's latest forecast is a slight improvement over that from April. At that time the USTMA suggested shipments would be up 0.8 percent to 319.1 million units.
Medium truck tire shipments represent the growth engine this year, the USTMA figures show, with OE shipments expected to rise 13.4 percent to 6.2 million units and replacement shipments 2.7 percent to 20.2 million units.
Replacement passenger tire shipments are seen rising 0.7 percent, or 1.5 million units, to 211.2 million, while replacement light truck shipments are expected to decline 0.3 percent to 31.2 million units.
OE passenger tire shipments will increase 1.5 percent, or 700,000 units in 2018 to 45.9 million units. Light truck OE tire shipments will fall 5.6 percent, to 5.1 million from 5.4 million units.
The USTMA represents a dozen tire companies, which collectively operate 57 tire-related plants in 17 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales, accounting for 82 percent of shipments referenced in the forecast.