RMA Projects 2008 US Tyre Shipments to Decrease 4%
Tyre shipments in the US are projected to decline by nearly 4 per cent this year compared to 2007, says the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Combined OE and replacement tyre shipment for the passenger/light commercial vehicle and truck segments are anticipated to decreased by more than 12 million units to approximately 298 million, reports the RMA. Such a decline, it believes, reflects anticipated worsening domestic economic pressures for both the consumer and commercial sectors.
The RMA’s Tire Market Analysis Committee 2008 forecast for key US market categories and their respective segments include:
Original Equipment passenger car tyres: This category is projected to decrease by more than 11 per cent to approximately 41 million units in 2008 as a result of continued decreases in domestic vehicle production. This will mark the lowest level of OE shipments since 1991, when OE shipments stood at 41.8 million units. A further decrease of approximately 3 per cent is expected for 2009 owing to a protracted economic recovery and continued market share gains for light vehicle imports.
Original Equipment light truck tyres: Due to a fundamental shift in consumer demand away from vehicles with higher fuel economy, a shift in vehicle fitments to P-metric passenger tyres and increased market share for import vehicle manufacturers, light truck vehicles fitted with light truck tyres will be significantly impacted, the RMA believes. A decrease of more than 35 per cent is projected for 2008, accounting for approximately 1.6 million fewer units than the 4.4 million total OE units in 2007. For 2009, a modest 200,000 unit increase is anticipated owing to resumption of economic growth in the commercial sectors that utilise light truck vehicles.
Original equipment medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyres: For 2008, this category is projected to decrease by approximately 12 per cent to nearly 4.1 million units. This decrease is attributed to the greater than anticipated economic slowdown in the commercial sector. However a considerable rebound of more than 24 per cent is forecasted for 2009 as economic activity improves and truck sales increase. Anticipation of changes in EPA regulations for 2010 will inspire a pull-forward effect of truck sales into 2009.
Replacement passenger tyre: A slowing economy and higher energy prices are factors in a reduction in consumer driving. As a consequence, this category will realise a nearly 1 per cent decrease, or approximately 2 million units, reaching a level of 202 million units in 2008. The 2009 forecast is for no growth due to continuing difficult economic conditions.
Replacement light truck tyre: This market segment is projected to decrease by approximately 2.4 million units, or nearly 7 per cent, to about 32 million units in 2008. Although the number of vehicles for this market remains steady and largely represented by small commercial vehicles, declining economic conditions and fewer miles driven will contribute to a further projected 5 per cent decline in replacement light commercial vehicle tyre shipments in 2009.
Replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyres: This market is projected to decline to approximately 16 million units in 2008, a decrease of nearly 600,000 units or 3.5 per cent over 2007. Again, the decrease reflects a further weakening of the economy and protracted recovery as fewer goods are being transported.