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Rubber Manufacturers Association forecasts tire shipment rebound in 2003

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Despite a 6.6% overall decline last year, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) predicts that consumer and commercial original equipment and replacement tire shipments will rebound in 2003.

"Replacement tires for passenger cars, light trucks and commercial trucks all experienced moderate decreases in 2001 ranging from over 4% for passenger tires to nearly 10% for commercial truck tires," say RMA officials.

Further declines in the passenger replacement markets were offset by "solid 10.6% growth in the H/V/Z-speed rated performance market and 10.2% growth in the P-metric light truck tire market," they note.

The RMA forecasts specific shipment increases in the following categories next year:

* Passenger (OE): up to more than 56 million units;

* Passenger (replacement): up to more than 197 million units;

* Medium truck (OE): up to 4 million units;

* Medium truck (replacement): up to 14.5 million units.

The RMA says OE and replacement light truck tire shipments will grow by 2.7% and 4.2%, respectively, during 2003.

And it says the H/V/Z-speed rated market will leap by 11% next year.

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