AKRON—One year removed from the deep market slumps of 2020, the North American tire industry is humming along again at record or near-record levels in most aftermarket sectors.
According to new data from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), replacement market tire shipments grew by double-digits in all the sectors monitored, recovering to or exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Original equipment tire shipments, on the other hand, while up over 2020, continue to lag the pre-pandemic 2019 figures, the USTMA data show, as North American vehicle production fell for the fourth straight year.
At the same time, imports of tires in the major consumer and commercial categories bounced back from 2020 to record levels, despite the global supply-chain issues that dominated news coverage throughout 2021.
Domestic tire production, while up in all key categories, fell short of regaining pre-pandemic levels in passenger and medium truck/bus tires, the USTMA data show.
U.S. passenger tire production, which fell in 2020 to its lowest level since the 1990s, was up 10.3 percent over 2020 but still fell 16 million units shy of the 2019 output.
Light truck and medium truck/bus tire production was up 25 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively, to 26.1 million and 13.5 million units. As such, light truck tire output exceeded 2019 production by 1.6 percent while truck/bus tire production fell 8 percent short of matching the 2019 output, the data show.