The last two months of the year proved to be busier than expected, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). Way busier.

Following the first 10 months of the year, the RMA projected domestic replacement tire shipments for 2016 would be down slightly compared to the previous year. In 2015, 206.1 million units were shipped; with two months to go in 2016, the projected amount was 205.2 million.  

When the preliminary RMA numbers came in, however, the total was 208.6 million, a difference of 3.4 million tires. According to the RMA, the discrepancy is due to "larger than expected November and December imports."

The preliminary Tire Industry Facts book also says overall passenger tire imports were down 1.6%. However, those numbers come directly from U.S. Department of Commerce import data without adjustement by the RMA. "We believe that the DOC under reported passenger imports and over reported LT imports," said an RMA spokesman.

All the other OE and replacement numbers were within the range of the estimates released last December.

Here are the other consumer tire shipment numbers from the RMA's preliminary Tire Industry Facts book.

Replacement tires (in millions of units)

Passenger: 2015 = 206.1; 2016 = 208.6.

Light truck: 2015 = 29.1; 2016 = 31.9.

Original equipment tires (in millions of units)

Passenger: 2015 = 49.7; 2016 = 49.3.

Light truck: 2015 = 4.4; 2016 = 4.9.

Truck and bus shipments in the U.S. were up nearly 4% at the replacement level, from 17.9 million units to 18.6 million, but down 19.3% at OE, from 6.2 million units to 5 million.

The RMA will finalize the numbers later this year.

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