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No turnaround for OE truck tires in 2009

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Unfortunately, there are no signs for a quick turnaround in the truck tire market in 2009, especially at the original equipment level.

In July, medium/heavy truck production in the United States was down 38.4% compared to the previous July, according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank. That is only slightly better than the comparative 46.3% decrease year to date.

In Canada, the drop off in production is more pronounced: 71.5% July vs. July, and 52.4% year to date. Mexican truck production decreases came in at 27.9% and 45.8%, respectively.

Given the continued drop in vehicle production, it's not surprising that the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has revised its 2009 estimates for domestic OE medium/heavy truck tire shipments.

In its March forecast, the RMA projected the following:

Medium/heavy truck tire shipments (in millions of units)

            2009  2008  % change

OE       2.6     3.8      Down 31.5%

Five months later, the revised forecast is gloomier.

Revised

            2009  2008  % change

OE       2.2     3.8      Down 42.1%

The RMA based its OE estimates on “downward revisions in the economic conditions in the commercial sector.” It sees a “protracted recovery” on the replacement side, which is also down compared to 2008.

There is good news, however. The RMA forecasts a 22% increase in OE truck tire shipments in 2010. A slight increase at the replacement level also is projected.

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