NHTSA Finalizes New Tire Registration Regulation

Measure Provides Added Flexibility for Dealers, Codifies Electronic Registration

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.December 3, 2008 - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued final rules this week to improve tire registration.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Industry Association both support the new regulation, which will provide dealers with flexibility and allow greater use of electronic tire registration. The regulation is designed to boost the number of new tire registrations. Tire registration is a critical component in notifying consumers in the event of a tire recall.

“NHTSA’s action offers a path forward to improving tire registration rates,” said Tracey Norberg, RMA senior vice president. “This should enhance the ability of tire manufacturers and NHTSA to notify consumers in the event of a tire recall.”

When first implemented nearly three decades ago, tire registration procedures were strictly required to be done by standardized paper form. Under the current system, RMA members have estimated that only 10 percent of tires purchased each year are registered.

In 2003, RMA urged NHTSA to allow for some electronic tire registration to help increase the number of registrations. NHTSA agreed with RMA and issued a letter of interpretation. Last year, the White House Office of Management and Budget asked NHTSA to consider broadening electronic tire registrations further under federal rules that encourage reducing paperwork burdens. In January of this year, NHTSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the tire registration rules.

The new rules will continue to permit paper registration forms but will now permit tire dealers to voluntarily submit electronic tire registrations for consumers. If a paper form is provided to consumers, the form may now also include information on how a consumer can register tires electronically.

“Choice and flexibility in filing tire registrations should be very helpful,” Norberg added.

Additionally, RMA and TIA had urged NHTSA to avoid imposing additional burdens on the tire industry. The final rule does not impose new obligations but instead accommodates and facilitates internet and other electronic tire registration.

The new rule takes effect on January 27, 2009. Optional immediate compliance is permitted as of November 28, 2008.

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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.

2008 Tire Shipments Drop More Than Six Percent

Further Softening Anticipated in 2009

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.December 1, 2008 - Tire shipments are projected to decline by more than six percent this year compared to 2007 with a further one percent decline predicted for 2009, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Total tire shipments were below 300 million for the first time since 1997 when shipments were 290 million units.

The decrease in tire shipments reflects the sharp downward revisions in the domestic economic conditions predicted for both the consumer and commercial sectors. Overall, the combined OE and replacement tire shipments for 2008 light vehicle and truck categories are anticipated to decrease by more than 20 million units to approximately 290 million total shipments compared to the 310 million total shipments in 2007.

A further slight decline of approximately 3 million total units to nearly 287 million total units is anticipated for 2009 as an economic rebound is unlikely to occur until the latter half of the year.

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

  • Original Equipment Passenger Tires: This category is projected to decrease by more than 14 percent to approximately 39 million units in 2008 as a result of continued decreases in domestic vehicle production. A further decrease of approximately 3 percent is expected for 2009 owing to a delayed economic recovery and continued market share gains for light vehicle imports. Note that this projection does not account for any changes to the auto industry as a result of recent requests for federal financial assistance or potential for bankruptcy.
  • Original Equipment Light Truck (LT) Tires: Consumer demand for vehicles with higher fuel economy, a shift in vehicle fitments to P-Metric passenger tires and market share increases by import vehicle manufacturers have combined to significantly impact light truck vehicles fitted with LT tires. As a result, RMA forecasts a decrease of approximately 34 percent in 2008 for a total of 2.9 million OE units, representing a 1.5 million unit decrease from 2007’s total. For 2009, another 100,000 unit decrease is anticipated owing to the slow economic recovery and its impact on the commercial sectors that utilize light truck vehicles.
  • Original Equipment Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: For 2008, this category is predicted to decrease by approximately 16 percent to nearly 3.9 million units. This decrease is attributed to the larger than anticipated economic slowdown in the commercial sector. This will continue into 2009 and as a result, RMA forecasts a further decrease of approximately 8 percent or 300,000 units for a total of 3.6 million units. Given this protracted economic downturn, the expected pull-forward effect of truck sales into 2009 owing to anticipated changes in EPA regulations in 2010 has been discounted.
  • Replacement Passenger Tire: The slowing economy, higher energy costs and declines in miles traveled contributed to this market’s decline. As a consequence, this category will realize a nearly 2.7 percent decrease, or approximately 5.5 million units, reaching a level of 198 million units in 2008. No growth is expected for 2009 due to the soft economic conditions.
  • Replacement Light Truck Tire: The forecast for this market segment is a 4.5 million unit decrease, or nearly 13 percent, to about 29 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 4 percent decline in replacement LT tire shipments in 2009.
  • Replacement Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: RMA forecasts a decline to approximately 15.4 million units in 2008, a decrease of nearly 1.2 million units or 7.1 percent over 2007. The market will realize another decrease of 300,000 units in 2009 as fewer goods will be transported as a result of the economic slowdown and protracted recovery.

 

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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.