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MTD Facts Issue: Truck Tire Shipments Stayed Strong

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Truck shipments

MTD estimates that 18.5 million replacement medium/heavy truck tires were shipped in the U.S. last year, down from 18.9 million units shipped in 2019.

Given all that happened during 2020, it’s no surprise that U.S. replacement passenger tire shipments were down for the year, dropping by around 9%. However, replacement medium/heavy truck tire shipment declines were not nearly as pronounced.

Medium/heavy truck tire shipments fell around 2%, 2020 versus 2019. Here’s a detailed look, including a dive into medium/heavy truck tires shipped to the original equipment channel, courtesy of MTD’s 2021 Facts Issue. Numbers are in millions:

Year

Replacement

OE

2020

18.5

4.5

2019

18.9

6.5

2018

21.0

6.2

2017

19.2

5.7

2016

18.4

5.3

2015

18.0

6.3

2014

17.3

5.8

2013

15.7

5.0

2012

16.0

5.3

2011

17.0

4.9

2010

15.3

3.0

*Source: MTD research

According to MTD research, average medium truck tire sales margins in the U.S. actually grew slightly over the course of 2020, climbing from 15.4% the previous year to 15.6%

Impacted less

The medium/heavy truck tire segment was impacted less than the passenger and light truck tire segments during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a somewhat rocky, pre-COVID-19 start - in which the medium truck tire market contracted by 8% in January and 14% in February - the segment rebounded in March. This was primarily driven by large pre-buys as fleets worried about potential shortages caused by tire plant shutdowns.

Demand fluctuated over the next few months as the trucking industry grappled with declining freight movement. (The American Trucking Associations’ tonnage index plunged 12.2% in April - the biggest monthly decline in more than 25 years.)

However, by mid-year, the supply/demand imbalance had improved. MTD estimated that nearly eight million truck tires had been shipped in the U.S. by mid-May.

Replacement truck tire shipments continued to bounce back during the rest of 2020, buoyed by rebounds in manufacturing and construction, continued fleet activity and improving freight rates. However, as the year ended, supply constraints remained an issue.

MTD estimates that 18.5 million replacement truck tire units were shipped in the U.S. for the full year, slightly down from 18.9 replacement million units shipped during 2019.

In addition to exclusive data about the domestic commercial truck tire segment, MTD's 2021 Facts Issue, available now, also provides a deep dive into U.S. passenger, light truck and medium truck tire shipments and market share; sales; distribution; tire sizing and pricing; North America tire plant capacities; mergers and acquisitions; automotive service; and more.

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