WASHINGTON—Demand for tires in the U.S., especially truck tires, has accelerated over the past few months at a pace that could lead to record annual shipments, according to the latest forecast from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association.
The industry trade association is forecasting double-digit growth in demand for medium/heavy truck tires at both the replacement and original equipment markets, growth that would support overall shipment increases of 10.9 percent, to 336.1 million units.
The USTMA did not offer any commentary as to what factors it considered in developing its latest forecast, which represents an increase of 6.4 percent, or 20.5 million units, over the projection issued in March, as well as 11.2 percent ahead of 2020.
The trade group did not comment, for example, on the potential impact on supply of the elevated import duties imposed earlier this year on imported car and light truck tires from South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, which represented more than a third of U.S. aftermarket shipments last year.
By category, the shipment forecast breaks down as:
- Passenger—up 10.1 percent (10.6 million units) to 224.4 million units.
- Light truck—up 13.2 percent (4.3 million units) to 37.3 million units.
- Truck/bus—up 14.6 percent (2.8 million units) to 21.9 million units.
Original equipment market:
- Passenger—up 9.9 percent (3.7 million units) to 40.9 million units.
- Light truck—up 6.2 percent (300,000 units) to 5.7 million units.
- Truck/bus—up 25.3 percent (1.2 million units) to 5.9 million units.
The trade group's forecast represents a 6.5 percent improvement overall versus the annual projection the USTMA issued in March, led by marked increases in the shipment projections for the replacement market. In particular, the forecast for truck/bus tires is up nearly 12 percent over that published in March.
The USTMA bases its forecasts on input from its 13 tire manufacturer member companies.