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RMA: At least last year, winter tires ruled

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Which seasonal replacement tire segment grew the most in 2011 compared to 2010? According to the preliminary edition of the Rubber Manufacturers Association's "2012 Factbook," the colder, the better.

The numbers, which were released on Feb. 10, were up significantly for both winter and ultra-high performance summer tires. But winter tires were up 9.2%; by comparison, UHP tires were up 7.5%. Here is the breakdown of  replacement passenger tire shipments in the U.S. (in millions of units):

Tread design                                          2010    2011      % growth

Winter (traction and snow treads):        8.7         9.5      +9.2%

Summer (V/Z-rated and higher):          25.2      27.1      +7.5%

All-season                                              146.5    141.3      -3.5%

H-rated replacement tire shipments were down 1.6%, to 30 million units.

In 2011, the RMA says there were 200.6 million replacement passenger tire units shipped in the U.S. That's 2.8% lower than in 2010.

For more statistical information, see "Passenger tire shipments fell 2.8%, says RMA."

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