WASHINGTON—The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association is revising its 2020 tire shipments projection slightly upward, based on less pessimistic projections for replacement market shipments for the remainder of the year.
The latest numbers were released Monday morning.
Replacement passenger and light truck tire shipments are projected to fall 15.2 percent and 11.8 percent short of 2019 shipments, respectively, the USTMA said in its latest report, slight "improvements" versus the forecasts of 17.2 percent and 16 percent drops issued in late April.
Replacement shipments of medium/heavy truck tires are now projected to be 5 percent lower than a year ago, versus the earlier forecast of a 7.3 percent drop.
The total unit reduction for replacement tires is projected to be 38.7 million units, versus 44.7 million units in the previous forecast. The USTMA did not comment on its reasons for the revised shipment forecast, which reflects input from the trade group's 13 members.
Original Equipment shipments for passenger, light truck and truck tires are expected to decrease by 24.5 percent, 21 percent and 32.6 percent respectively, by a total of 14.7 million units, the USTMA said. That is 300,000 units more than the group projected in April after the declaration of social-distancing measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to that, in early March, the USTMA said it expected U.S. tire shipments would increase slightly over 2019 to 333.2 million units, led by strong aftermarket demand for truck tires.
Overall, shipments are expected to fall to 279.4 million units from 332.7 million units in 2019.
By category, the shipment projections are:
- Passenger — down 15.2 percent to 188.7 million units;
- Light truck — down 11.8 percent to 28.7 million units; and
- Medium/heavy truck — down 5 percent to 18 million units.
Original equipment market:
- Passenger — down 24.5 percent to 34.9 million units;
- Light truck — down 21 percent to 4.6 million units; and
- Medium/heavy truck — down 32.6 percent to 4.4 million units.
The group did not comment on the prospects for U.S. production versus imports.
The USTMA's 13 member companies operate 58 tire-related factories in 17 states and generate more than $27 billion in annual sales.