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Tire shipments will increase 8% this year

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Total tire shipments will increase by 8% this year due mainly to a projected 38% increase in original equipment passenger tire shipments, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

A predicted 5% increase in replacement passenger tires also will contribute to overall shipment growth.

"Total 2010 tire shipments are projected to increase to 282 million units from last year’s 260 million," say RMA officials. "The rebound in 2010 shipments would be roughly equal to 2008’s shipment level.

"The increase in tire shipments reflects an economy reemerging from the severe economic downturn, coupled with the recent turnaround of the domestic automotive manufacturers and a return to established driving habits. However, high unemployment, low consumer confidence and continued depressed home values continue to weigh on the consumer."

The RMA’s Tire Market Analysis Committee forecast for key categories is as follows:

* Original equipment passenger tires:  "Large increases in domestic vehicle production as a result of the resumption of auto manufacturer production driven by OEM incentive and financing programs will lead to a nearly 38% increase in 2010 shipments to approximately 34 million units."

* Replacement passenger tires: "Due to faster recovery in the auto sector from the protracted and deeper economic downturn in 2009, the market will realize a better than expected 5% increase in 2010, or approximately 10 million units."

* Original equipment light truck tires:  "This category will experience an approximate 13% increase, or 400,000 units, in 2010 to nearly 3.2 million units due to stabilizing economic conditions," note RMA officials.

* Replacement light truck tires: "The extension of the first-time homebuyer’s tax credit provided a temporary boost to the housing/construction industry, allowing for a nearly 3% increase in the forecast for replacement light truck tire shipments for 2010."

* Original equipment medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tires: "Given the severe economic conditions in the commercial sector in 2009... a nearly 16% is forecast for 2010 to approximately 2.8 million units."

* Replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tires: "The market will realize an increase of approximately 15%, or nearly two million units in 2010, to approximately 15 million units total as a result of the better-than-expected recovery in the commercial sector. 

"However, given the uneven economic rebound forecast going forward, this market is expected to increase by approximately 600,000 units in 2011." 

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