Shipments will drop to 16-year low in 2009
Tire shipments are expected to drop to approximately 261 million units in 2009, a 21 million unit decline from 2008 levels and a 16-year low, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
The decrease reflects "the continued erosion of consumer confidence, higher unemployment, depressed auto sales, a decline in vehicle miles travelled and downward revisions in domestic economic conditions for both the consumer and commercial sectors," say RMA officials.
The RMA's Tire Market Analysis Committee forecast for key categories is as follows:
* OE passenger tire shipments will decrease 22% in 2009 to 29 million units. The RMA expects this segment to rebound by nearly six million units next year thanks to a predicted rebound in car production.
* Replacement passenger tire shipments will drop seven million units this year to 187 million units, "a figure that approximates passenger replacement shipments of a decade ago. Growth is anticipated to resume in 2010, with the replacement sector estimated to increase by three million units."
* OE light truck tire shipments, which fell 34.5% in 2008, will decrease by another 900,000 units in 1009 "owing to the slower economic conditions and impact on the commercial sectors that utilize light truck vehicles," say RMA officials.
* Replacement light truck tire shipments will decline by 8% this year. However, an increase of 6% is expected in 2010 "in step with commercial economic forecasts."
* OE medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tire shipments will plummet 30% to 2.6 million units in 2009 after a 17.6% decrease last year. "However, the economic rebound projected for 2010, along with pent-up demand for vehicles, is projected to result in a net gain of 600,000 units."
* Replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tire shipments will decrease by 1.6 million units in 2009 as fewer goods are transported. A 14 million unit increase is predicted next year, however.