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No Growth For 2012 Tire Shipments

Tire shipments are projected to remain unchanged in 2012 at 284 million units, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) as an increase in OE shipments offset a decrease in replacement shipments. The association pegged the lack of overall growth to continued economic sluggishness. However, an increase in vehicle miles traveled and anticipated economic growth should result in a nearly 2-percent increase, or approximately 6 million units, to 290 million total units in 2013.

OE tire shipments for both the light-vehicle and commercial truck sectors are forecast to increase nearly 13 percent in 2012 because of increased demand for light vehicles and commercial trucks. Nearly 4-percent growth is forecast for 2013 as new vehicle demand is expected to increase light-vehicle sales to more than 15 million.

Replacement tire shipments will drop to 234 million units in 2012 — a nearly 6-million-unit decrease or about 2.5 percent. For 2013, an increase of more than 3 million units is anticipated as growth in the Gross Domestic Product and the Industrial Production Index for both the consumer and commercial sectors is projected.

RMA forecasts that 2012 replacement passenger tire shipments will decrease by more than 4 million units, or nearly 2 percent, to 190 million units as anticipated demand failed to materialize in the face of continued soft economic conditions and cautious consumers. The association expects an increase of 3 million tire units in 2013.

Total 2012 light-truck tire replacement shipments will come in around 28 million — a decrease of roughly 600,000 units, or 2 percent. Little or no growth is forecast for 2013 as the economy remains soft and new light-truck sales further weaken demand for replacement tires.

For 2012, the replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tire market is forecast to decline by approximately 5 percent, or 900,000 units, to 15.7 million units as fleets opt for new equipment and the economy remains sluggish. However, 2013 shipments are expected to increase nearly 4 percent, or roughly 600,000 units.

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