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RMA forecasts tire shipment growth next year and beyond

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Tire shipments for 2003 are expected to fall by 1.5% vs. last year's levels but a rebound of nearly 3% is expected next year, according to newly released Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) projections.

The RMA predicts continued yearly growth of 3% through 2008 "as the nation's Gross Domestic Product and Industrial Production Index gain momentum."

Short and long range category-by-category forecasts include:

* Passenger tire (OE) shipments will decline by 6% this year "as the impact of new vehicle buyer incentive programs wane and domestic light vehicle production declines by approximately 300,000 units," say RMA officials, who predict that OE passenger tire shipments will grow 1% per year through 2008.

Passenger tire (replacement) shipments will grow by nearly 3% in 2004 and will increase at the same rate on an annualized basis through 2008.

Light truck tire (OE) shipments "will experience a strong 3.7% annualized growth rate" over the next five years.

Light truck tire (replacement) shipments "will rebound sharply in 2004 and (will continue to grow) through 2008 at an average (annual) rate just short of 4%," according to RMA officials.

Medium/wide base truck tire (OE) shipments will increase at more than 10% per year through 2006, but will decline by a full one million units in 2008 as stricter emission standards go into effect in 2007. "Sales of commercial truck vehicles will increase through 2006 to meet economic and industrial growth."

Medium/wide base truck tire (replacement) shipments will increase by nearly 15 million units in 2003 "mainly as a result of the expected strong rebound in industrial production. This will continue through 2006."

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