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RMA: Passenger tire shipments are down nearly 6%

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Replacement and original equipment passenger tire shipments in the United States are down 5.9% through the first six months of the year, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

In its June tire report, the RMA estimates 94.6 million replacement P-metric tires were shipped domestically, compared to 100.2 million over the same period last year. However, the second half is expected to be rosier: The RMA predicts this market segment will increase by close to 1% compared to the final six months of 2005.

Overall, total replacement passenger tire shipments will be down approximately 2.3% to nearly 198 million units in 2006, says the RMA.

Original equipment passenger tire shipments through the first six months also are down. Through June, units shipped totaled 25.6 million, a 6.8% decrease versus the first six months of 2005.

Despite a projected second-half rebound, the RMA says this segment will decrease by more than 2% to approximately 51 million units in 2006.

Changes in the way the RMA is reporting both light truck and medium/heavy truck tire shipments this year makes comparisons to prior years more difficult. Here are their shipment totals through the first six months.

* Light truck tires, replacement: 16.4 million.

* Light truck tires, OE: 2.8 million.

* Medium/heavy truck tires, replacement: 8.7 million.

* Medium/heavy truck tires, OE: 3.46 million.

Beginning this year, service trailer tires are no longer included in light truck tire shipments. Also, "heavy on-highway truck tires" are now included in the RMA's truck and bus tire shipments.

The RMA's Tire Market Analysis Committee projects growth to resume in 2007. Total tire shipments are expected to increase by nearly 7 million units to 319 million units, a growth of approximately 2.3%.

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