RMA lowers 2011 forecast
The Rubber Manufacturers Association, which represents the manufacturers accountable for more than 90 per cent of all US tyre shipments, has lowered its 2011 tyre shipment forecast by one per cent due to downward revisions in year-end economic growth in the US. This revised full-year forecast of 287 million total units is approximately two million units more than in 2010. For next year, the RMA retains a “guardedly optimistic” forecast as US economic growth is anticipated to remain slow, and the association expects overall tyre shipments in 2012 to increase by more than two per cent to over 290 million total units.
Original equipment passenger car tyres: The RMA reduced its forecast for OE passenger tyre shipments to approximately 35 million units, a 5.4 per cent increase over 2010, as a result of decreased vehicle production related to supply chain disruptions caused by natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. The forecast for 2012 is for an approximate 13 per cent increase, to nearly 40 million OE units, as available credit and attractive vehicle prices are expected to drive vehicle sales.
Original equipment light truck tyres: This category is forecasted to experience a nearly 15 per cent increase in 2011 to approximately 4.2 million units due to a shift to larger vehicles in the US brought about by the introduction of more fuel efficient pickups and improved economic conditions in commercial sectors that utilise light trucks. However, a seven per cent decrease, or approximately 300,000 units for a total of 3.9 million units, is forecasted for 2012. This is a consequence of a trend towards light trucks built on car-based platforms instead of truck-based platforms owing to increased vehicle fuel mileage standards and consumer demand.
Original equipment medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyres: The forecast for commercial OE tyre shipments was revised upward approximately 54 per cent for 2011, reaching nearly five million total units. This, says the RMA, underscores the pent up demand for commercial trucks and trailers concurrent with a predicted nearly four per cent increase in the Industrial Production Index. For 2012, the forecast is for an additional nearly ten per cent increase as pent up demand offsets a slowing economy.
Replacement passenger car tyres: The forecast for this category was revised to show a decrease of approximately two per cent for 2011, reflecting a decrease in vehicle miles driven, high energy costs and continued economic uncertainty. The decrease represents a drop of approximately four million units for 2011, with total passenger replacement units reaching approximately 196 million units. For 2012, less than one per cent growth is forecasted – representing an approximate one million unit increase – as economic growth continues to remain sluggish and vehicle miles driven ticks up slightly.
Replacement light truck tyres: This category was revised downward to an approximate two per cent increase in 2011 – a growth of approximately 700,000 units, or nearly 29 million total units. The downward revision was primarily attributed to the slower than expected recovery in the light truck category as well as the change in light truck platforms to car platforms, which began in 2008. For 2012, the RMA anticipates no further increase as the economy is expected to remain weak.
Replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyres: The forecast for this market will remain strong for 2011 as commercial trucking has grown concurrent with the increase in the Industrial Production Index. As such, the market is anticipated to increase by approximately 1.5 million units in 2011 to nearly 17 million units. For 2012, an additional 800,000 units are anticipated as the IPI is forecasted to continue to grow by over two per cent.