WASHINGTON—Imports of consumer and commercial tires into the U.S. fell by double digits in the first half of 2020, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the marketplace.
The declines—23.7 percent for passenger and 14.7 percent for truck/bus—are more severe than the most recent market projections from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, which forecast 2020 aftermarket shipment drops of 15 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
Imports of passenger tires in the January-June period fell 23.7 percent to just shy of 58 million units, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, while the value of said imports dropped 27.6 percent to $2.88 billion. As such, the average declared customs value fell more than $6 to $46 a tire.
Imports of light truck tires fell 15.1 percent to 11.2 million units. The value of these shipments fell 12.6 percent, and the average value was up 3.2 percent to $76.86.
Imports of medium-/heavy-duty truck/bus tires were off 14.7 percent to 6.18 million units. Their value slid 25.4 percent, leaving the average value at $161.82, down from $173 a year ago.
By comparison, the USTMA projects that replacement passenger and light truck tire shipments are projected to fall 15.2 percent and 11.8 percent short of 2019 shipments, respectively, and replacement shipments of medium/heavy truck tires are projected to be 5 percent lower than a year ago.
Thailand continued as the No. 1 source of imported passenger, light truck and medium/heavy-duty truck tires, with shipments of the latter actually increasing during the period by 21.3 percent, reflecting the commissioning of truck tire capacity at a number of new plants and ongoing expansions there.
Imports of passenger tires from Thailand fell 16.3 percent to 14.8 million units, valued at $585.1 million, or $39.46 on average.