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RMA Says 2009 Tire Shipments to Drop 16%

August 11, 2009

WASHINGTON - Tire shipments are projected to drop by approximately 16 percent in 2009 mainly as a result of a nearly 45 percent decline in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) passenger tires and almost 43 percent drop in OEM commercial truck tires, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

Total 2009 tire shipments are projected to decline approximately 45 million units to 237 million units. This level is approximately 84 million units less than the peak of 321 million units in 2000. The decrease in tire shipments reflects the recent struggles of automotive manufacturers, low consumer confidence, high unemployment, and depressed home values, said the RMA.

Vehicle miles travelled seem to have stabilized and domestic economic conditions for both the consumer and commercial sectors appear to have bottomed and are poised for a rebound in 2010. The tire industry is expected to realize a nearly 8 percent growth in 2010 reaching the 260 million unit level.

RMA's Tire Market Analysis Committee forecast for key categories and their respective segments for 2008 include:

OE passenger tire shipments will plummet 46 percent to 21 million units. However, in 2010, shipments are expected to grow by some 11 million units, though "this projection does not account for any changes to the auto industry as a result of further federal intervention or consumer incentive programs."

Replacement passenger tire shipments will decline 9 percent, or 18 million units, reaching a level of 176 million units, thanks to "the protracted economic downturn. Growth is anticipated to resume in 2010 with the replacement sector estimated to increase by approximately 5 million units, or slightly better than 3 percent, in tandem with the projected economic growth in the consumer sector."

OE light truck tire shipments will drop 12 percent to nearly 2.6 million units. However, a gain of nearly 100,000 units is expected next year.

Replacement light truck tire shipments will drop 18 percent to 24 million units due to "further declines in economic conditions.  An increase of nearly 8-percent is anticipated in 2010 in keeping with commercial economic forecasts."

OE medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tire shipments will decline nearly 44 percent to 2.2. million units in 2009, a decrease of more than 1.6 million tires. Pent-up demand for vehicles in 2010 should result in a net gain of 500,000 units, according to the RMA.

Replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tire shipments will decrease more than three million units this year to 12 million units.


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