Tread Rubber Shipments to Increase by 2.3% in 2007

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 29, 2007 - Sustained economic growth and a general recovery in the tread rubber industry will fuel a 2.3 percent shipment increase in 2007, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s Tread Rubber Market Analysis Committee (TRMAC).

This forecast represents an increase of 230,000 units to approximately 15.9 million retreaded tires in the United States for 2007.

The committee noted that the growth in new commercial vehicles over the last couple years, spurred by the 2007 EPA engine emissions standards, will begin to have a positive effect on the retread market. The retread tire potential may be limited by the difficulty in sourcing Off-the-Road (OTR) tire casings as strong demand for those products continues.

Retreaded tires are used by commercial aviation, commercial trucks, school buses, and off-the-road vehicles such as industrial, agricultural and mining equipment.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

Sixth National Tire Safety Week Reaches Record Participation

More Than 17,000 Tire and Auto Repair Outlets To Participate

“Be Tire Smart” Brochure

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

 WASHINGTON, D.C.March 14, 2007 - More than 17,000 tire and auto repair outlets will be offering consumers information to help them “Be Tire Smart” for the sixth annual National Tire Safety Week sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association April 22-28.

Participants in this year’s National Tire Safety Week will see a revised “Be Tire Smart” brochure with a new and improved look and additional information about tire pressure monitoring systems, nitrogen inflation and help in finding a vehicle’s tire information label.

“Evaluating and improving the content of the Be Tire Smart program is important to continually engage motorists with reminders that tire care is a critical component of vehicle safety,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA vice president, communications.

RMA is planning a number of events around the country prior to and during National Tire Safety Week including radio public service announcements, media outreach and tire safety events. Many participants in National Tire Safety Week also are planning their own promotional, advertising and community outreach activities.

“Each year, we are more grateful for the effort by all of the tire retailers, auto dealers, auto repair shops, AAA clubs and others who work with us to communicate important tire care information to consumers,” Zielinski said. “Many of those businesses continue this education effort throughout the year and serve as a resource to their customers and communities.”

For more information about participating in National Tire Safety Week, visit www.rma.org.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

Little Growth Predicted for 2007 Tire Shipments

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 13, 2007 - Tire shipments for 2007 are expected to increase slightly compared to 2006 as limited growth in the replacement tire market will be offset by decreases in the original equipment (OE) markets, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association

Tire shipments for 2007 will reflect the moderate domestic economic growth predicted for both the consumer and commercial sectors. The group projects that in 2007 the replacement tire markets will show an increase of 1.4 percent with OE markets declining 3.8 percent.

Overall, the combined OE and replacement shipments for 2007 auto and truck categories are anticipated to increase by just over one million units to approximately 307 million total shipments.

RMA’s Tire Market Analysis Committee forecast for key categories and their respective segments for 2007 include:

  • Original Equipment Passenger Tires: This market is projected to decrease in 2007 by approximately 2 percent to 47.3 million units compared to 2006 as a result of a decrease in domestic light vehicle sales and production. This will represent the second year in which light vehicle sales and production have decreased. However, it is anticipated that beginning in 2008 domestic light vehicle sales and production will increase. This, combined with the rising popularity of cross-over utility vehicles fitted with OE passenger tires (rather than light truck tires), are expected to have a positive impact in this category
  • Original Equipment Light Truck Tires: Slightly more then 5 million OE units are forecasted to be shipped in 2007, representing a gain of approximately 1 percent over 2006 levels as a result of increases in domestic light truck production. Any future growth in this sector will be slight as consumers opt for smaller-sized sport utility and light truck vehicles fitted with the P-metric passenger tires.
  • Original Equipment Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: Sales of commercial truck vehicles will experience a sharp drop in 2007 as changes in EPA regulations pulled forward 2007 demand into 2006. The net result will be 21 percent decrease in OE shipments for 2007, or approximately 1.4 million units less then the 6.8 million units shipped in 2006. Future growth is expected to be erratic owing to additional EPA emission regulations taking effect in 2010.
  • Replacement Passenger Tires: The passenger replacement market will increase by a modest 1.4 percent to approximately 199 million units in 2007 representing a gain of 2.7 million units over 2006’s shipments. Growth in this category is predominantly a result of increases in the P-metric tire market (for SUV type vehicles), which is projected to grow more than 7 percent, and the High and Ultra High Performance tire markets, which are projected to increase more than 7 percent and 11 percent, respectively, compared to 2006. Overall, the passenger replacement market will continue to increase by approximately 2 percent through 2009. Steady growth in this segment is largely attributed to continued growth in the number of vehicles on the road and increasing vehicle miles traveled.
  • Replacement Light Truck Tires: This market segment is projected to increase by approximately 800,000 units to 34.4 million units in 2007 with continued growth through 2009 at an average annualized growth rate of approximately 2 percent.
  • Replacement Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: This market is projected to be 16.9 million units in 2007, essentially unchanged from 2006’s shipments. However, this category is also forecasted to realize an annualized growth of just less than 2 percent through 2009.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

RMA Testifies Against Maryland “Tire Efficiency” Measure

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 7, 2007 - Maryland legislators should forgo consideration of state “tire efficiency” standards on tire makers and support a national consumer education program on tire rolling resistance, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association in testimony today before a House committee.

“The tire industry is committed to working with policymakers to provide information and education about tire manufacturing processes, tire performance characteristics, scrap tire market development and tire maintenance,” said Tracey Norberg, RMA vice president and deputy general counsel. “RMA appreciates the opportunity to discuss HB 608 and to inform the committee about policy developments in the area of tire energy efficiency over the past four years.”

The proposed legislation would create a consumer information program and rating system for tire rolling resistance and it would require minimum efficiency standards for all tires.

Norberg explained that attempts to emphasize tire fuel efficiency over other tire performance traits would have tradeoffs. She noted the relationship among tire rolling resistance, traction and tread wear and said that tire manufacturers would not compromise on safety.

Norberg also indicated that mandates for low rolling resistance tires would exacerbate scrap tire management issues. A 2006 RMA Scrap Tire Market Report illustrated the vast improvement in scrap tire management since 1990 that has reduced scrap tire stockpiles from 1 billion to fewer than 200 million tires and has helped markets for scrap tires soar from an 11 percent recovery rate to nearly 87 percent.

While California enacted tire efficiency legislation in 2003, Norberg said that the state has yet to promulgate regulations for either consumer information or performance standards. Also, tire testing by California regulators is not yet complete. RMA was able to secure some safeguards to the California legislation to forbid state performance standards if tire safety, tire longevity or the state’s scrap tire situation would be negatively affected.

RMA told Maryland lawmakers that an April 2006 National Academy of Sciences report recommended consumer information on tire rolling resistance in addition to improved consumer tire maintenance to help motorists optimize their fuel economy without limiting tire choices.

“A national program would obviate the need for states to develop their own consumer education programs and facilitate nationwide distribution of tire efficiency consumer information,” Norberg said. “A single, nationwide program would allow citizens in all states to make more informed tire purchasing decisions and avoid duplicative and potentially conflicting state requirements that would confuse consumers.”

Norberg concluded, “RMA recommends that Maryland forgo HB 608 in favor of a national program to address this issue. I am happy to keep this Committee and any appropriate regulatory agencies up to date on relevant developments on this issue.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.