US tyre shipments up 9.7% in 2010, 3% growth for 2011 projected – RMA
Figures released by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the eleven-member trade association for manufacturers producing tyres in the US, show tyre shipments grew by more than 25 million units, or 9.7 per cent, in 2010 to 285 million units. The RMA projects a further 8 million unit growth this year, an increase of approximately three per cent; if growth follows the association’s projections, tyre shipments will reach 293 million units in 2011.
Original equipment tyre shipments for both the light vehicle and commercial truck markets will make up the bulk of the increase in 2011, the RMA says. This is, the association adds, because pent up demand for both for light vehicles and commercial trucks continues to drive domestic new vehicle sales and production. Growth in replacement tyre shipments is expected to be “modest” in 2011 as the RMA believes higher fuel costs and a reduction in non-essential driving will restrain the overall growth rate to less than two per cent, or approximately 248 million total units. “Nonetheless, the forecast is for continued overall positive economic conditions for both the consumer and commercial sectors as both the gross domestic product and industrial production indicators are forecast for above trend growth,” the manufacturers’ association adds.
The RMA’s Tire Market Analysis Committee forecast for key categories and their respective segments for 2010 and 2011 includes:
Original equipment passenger car tyres: Shipments are anticipated to increase by approximately 4 million units, or nearly 12 per cent, to 36.9 million units in 2011 as domestic vehicle production continues to increase in response to higher vehicle sales owing to incentive programmes, greater credit availability and low interest rates. Total light vehicle sales for 2011 are projected to be approximately 13 million vehicles, up from 11.6 million vehicles sold in 2010. OE tyre shipments for 2010 came in at 33.1 million units, up nearly 35 per cent, as domestic auto production ramped up from near historic lows in 2009.
Original equipment light truck tyres: This category experienced a 29.6 per cent increase in 2010 to 3.6 million units due to improved economic conditions respective to the commercial sectors, which utilise light truck vehicles. Little or no growth is anticipated for 2011 as no further vehicle production increases are anticipated for vehicles that utilise light truck tyre fitments. As a result, total shipments are forecast to remain at approximately 3.6 million units.
Original equipment medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyres: Medium OE tyre shipments saw a 31.8 per cent jump in shipments to 3.2 million units, reflecting pent up demand for commercial trucks and trailers concurrent with a significant increase in the industrial production index for 2010. This sector is forecast to continue to grow by approximately 30 per cent in 2011, or another nearly 1 million units, as the commercial sector continues to strengthen and reflect economic growth forecasts.
Replacement passenger car tyres: Shipments for this category increased in 2010 by 11.1 million units, or 5.8 per cent, to 200.6 million units as the US economy rebounded and miles travelled increased. However, growth will be tempered in 2011 as higher energy costs, a decrease in non-essential driving, and continued economic uncertainties weigh on the consumer. As a result, a less than two per cent increase, or nearly 3 million units, is forecast for 2011. Non-RMA imports increased nearly nine per cent in 2010 with another approximate four per cent increase anticipated for 2011.
Replacement light truck tyres: The onset of the economic recovery enabled light truck tyre shipments to increase by 1.2 million units to 28.7 million units in 2010, a gain of 4.4 per cent. However, no further growth is anticipated in 2011 in that this segment represents the small commercial vehicle market – mainly “class 3” trucks – as well as a core group of consumers, where the number of vehicles in use and miles driven will remain relatively constant.
Replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyres: This market increased by approximately 2.9 million units in 2010 to 15.8 million units, as the commercial sector of the economy grew by nearly six per cent after a slump of ten per cent in 2009. For 2011, further growth is expected to moderate, such that tyre shipments will increase by approximately five per cent, or 800,000 units.