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RMA releases shipment numbers for 2004

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Broad-based economic growth in the consumer and commercial sectors helped spur about a 2.5% increase in tire shipments for 2004 compared to 2003, according to the preliminary estimates by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

The group cited strong increases in the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Industrial Production Index (IPI) as the basis for this increase.

Overall, the combined original equipment and replacement tire shipments for 2004 light vehicle and commercial truck categories are anticipated to increase by 7.7 million units to approximately 318 million units compared to 2003’s 310.3 million total shipments, the RMA says.

Other key components of 2004 shipment statistics include:

* Original equipment passenger tires: A decline of 2.8% to 53 million units has been realized for 2004 as domestic auto production decreased and passenger cars continue to account for less of the total percentage of overall light vehicles sales.

* Original equipment light truck tires: OE LT shipments decreased by nearly 600,000 units, or 7.5% to approximately 7.4 million units in 2004.

* Original equipment medium/wide-base truck tires: Sales of commercial truck vehicles experienced a strong rebound in 2004 and as a result OE shipments for this market have increased by over 38%, up 1.6 million units, to 5.7 million units.

* Replacement passenger tires: The passenger replacement market increased by 3% in 2004 to approximately 199.4 million units, up 5.8 million units over 2003’s level.

* Replacement light truck tires: This market segment increased by 1.9 million units, or 5.6%, to 36.4 million units in 2004.

* Replacement medium/wide-base truck tires: This market grew by approximately 600,000 units or 4.1% in 2004 mainly as a result of the strong rebound in industrial production.

Other shipment details such as production, imports, shipments by channel as well as top 10 popular sizes can be found in the RMA's preliminary Tire Industry Factbook, which can be ordered through www.rma.org under "Publications.”

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