Which Asian country is the number-one exporter of consumer tires to the U.S.? If you guessed “China,” you’re wrong.

Thailand was the biggest exporter of consumer tires to the United States last year.

Thailand was the biggest exporter of consumer tires to the United States last year.

In 2014, consumer tire imports from China reached 60.5 million units. Since then, they have decreased by 94%, according to MTD’s 2020 Facts Issue.

The steep drop, driven by tariffs and other trade actions, created a big vacuum that has been filled by manufacturers from other countries – most notably Thailand.

Slightly more than 45 million consumer tires were shipped to the U.S. from Thailand in 2019, up from 40.5 million units in 2018 and a 10-million unit jump from 2017. That made Thailand the biggest exporter of consumer tires to the U.S. in 2019.

Vietnam (up 12.2% from 2018), Japan (up 13.4%) and Taiwan (up 3.4%) also shipped more units to the U.S. last year.

Interestingly, imports from South Korea stayed flat at around 19.3 million units during 2019. (Consumer tire imports from Indonesia declined by 4.7%.)

Count on more consumer tire manufacturers to move production to other Asian countries. (It’s happening on the commercial truck tire side, too.)

These are major investments and certainly not viewed by manufacturers as short-term fixes. 

Maybe in a few years another country will emerge as the new “Tire Land?” We’ll keep an eye on it.

Author

Mike Manges
Mike Manges

Editor

Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s executive editor. A 20-year-plus tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward.

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Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s executive editor. A 20-year-plus tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward.

View Bio
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