Millions of Motorists At Risk — Survey Shows 11% of Vehicles With At Least One Bald Tire

 RMA Urge Motorists to Check Tread; Costs Just A Penny

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 19, 2009 - A survey of more than 7,000 vehicles revealed that more than 11 percent had at least one bald tire, which can increase the risk of a crash particularly in wet weather conditions that frequently occur during fall and winter months.

According to AAA, an estimated 33.2 million motorists will take to the road for Thanksgiving travel and that means nearly 4 million motorists could be at risk by driving on bald tires.

Additional alarming statistics revealed in a national motorist phone survey earlier this year found that 64% of car owners did not know how to check tread depth and 9% never check tread depth.

The surveys were sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association of tire manufacturers in the U.S. RMA is urging motorists to regularly check tire tread depth and replace worn out tires before they become a serious safety risk.

“In this bad economy, drivers may be delaying necessary vehicle maintenance to save costs,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “But that delay may cost you more dearly if worn out tires lead to a crash with injuries or fatalities.”

According to RMA checking tread depth is simple and only costs a penny. To do the “penny test,” take a penny; insert Abe Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see all of his head, your tire is 2/32nds of an inch deep or less and should be replaced.

Tires also have “wear bars” built into them. These are indicators that appear when you have worn your tread down to the limit. These indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear “even” with the outside of the tread, it’s time for tire replacement.

“Your tires literally keep your vehicle attached to the road,” Cannon said. “Bald tires are dangerous because they cannot grip the road properly, they increase stopping distances and can contribute to skidding or loss of vehicle control.”

Under wet weather conditions, bald tires can hydroplane, which can lead to a loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash. When a vehicle hydroplanes, the tire is riding on a film of water.

Not only are too many motorists not paying attention to tread depth, they also are ignoring tire inflation pressure. Under inflated tires also pose a safety risk, wear out faster and increase vehicle fuel consumption.

A similar survey of more than 5,400 vehicles’ tire pressure conducted in March-May 2009, RMA found:

  • Only 9% of vehicles had four properly inflated tires.
  • 50% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire.
  • 19% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 pounds per square inch (psi).

Tire inflation pressure should be checked every month and before long trips. To properly check tire pressure, motorists should check once each month; check tires when cold – before the vehicle is driven and; use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on a label located on the driver’s door or door post or check the owner’s manual.

While basic tire maintenance only takes a few minutes each month, many tire retailers nationwide offer tire pressure and tread depth check at no charge.

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RMA collected tire tread depth information from more than 7,000 vehicles in 15 states between September 1 and November 3. The data was collected by several tire retailers that participate in RMA’s Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART tire maintenance education program.

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.

Goodyear’s Rich Kramer Elected RMA Chairman of the Board

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 18, 2009 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association has elected Richard J. Kramer as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Kramer is Chief Operating Officer of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. He also serves as President of the company’s North American Tire business unit, a position he has held since March 2007.
Kramer succeeds Jim MacMaster, Executive Vice President, Business Division for Yokohama Tire Corporation.

“Jim MacMaster provided valuable time, energy and leadership during the past two years,” said Charles A. Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “We look forward to continued strong leadership with Rich Kramer.”
The RMA Chairman of the Board of Directors is elected to a two-year term. Kramer has served on the RMA board since 2007 and also has chaired RMA’s Finance Committee.

“A strong, effective trade association is crucial to ensuring that industry concerns and issues are heard by federal and state policymakers. I am looking forward to my term as RMA Chairman and working with my industry colleagues to address the public policy and regulatory issues and challenges before us.” Kramer said.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 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.

2010 National Tire Safety Week Announced

 Tire Industry Urges Consumers to Maintain Tires to Save Fuel, Promote Safety

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 6, 2009 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association today announced the ninth Annual National Tire Safety Week will be held June 6-12, 2010.

The annual event is an initiative of the RMA’s “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program, a year-round effort designed to help drivers learn the simple steps they can take to ensure that their tires are in good working condition. RMA is the national trade association for tire manufacturers.

Tire manufacturers and retailers nationwide will work to educate motorists about proper tire care and maintenance. RMA provides tire retailers, auto dealers and automotive repair shops with free “Be Tire Smart” brochures and other materials. Many participating retail outlets use the opportunity to promote tire care through advertising, promotions, free tire pressure checks and conducting media outreach.

More than 21,000 tire dealers, auto dealers and automotive repair shops participated during the 2009 National Tire Safety Week. RMA released a survey of more than 5,400 vehicles that showed half with at least one under inflated tire. Nearly 20 percent of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 pounds per square inch (psi). Under inflated tires waste fuel, risk safety and cause tires to wear out faster.

Partners in the Be Tire Smart program include tire retailers, auto dealers, safety advocates and state government agencies. Among the list of Be Tire Smart partners are: AAA, American Car Care Centers (ACCC), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Big 10 Tires, Belle Tire, Big O Tires, Costco, Discount Tire Co., Dunn Tire, Expert Tire, Firestone Complete Auto Care, GCR Tire Centers, Goodyear Auto Centers, Hyundai Motor America, Just Tires, Kaufman Tire, Les Schwab, Merchant’s Tire, Motorist Assurance Program, Recreational Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation, National Tire and Battery (NTB), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Northwest Tire, Peerless Tires, Pep Boys, Sears Automotive Centers, STS Tire and Auto Centers, Sullivan Tire and Auto Service, Tire Factory, Tire Industry Association (TIA), Tire Kingdom, Tire One, Tires Plus, Tire Warehouse, Town Fair Tires, VIP Parts, Tires and Service, Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express and many others.

Tire and auto retailers who are interested in obtaining free RMA materials for National Tire Safety Week can order them online at www.betiresmart.org. Those who have participated in the event before can expect to receive materials again this year.

The Be Tire Smart program is funded by RMA’s tire manufacturer members: Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Continental Tire North America, Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Michelin North America, Inc., Pirelli North America, Inc., Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas, Inc., and Yokohama Tire Corporation.

For more information on the Be Tire Smart Program and National Tire Safety Week visit www.betiresmart.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.

2009 TIRE SHIPMENTS TO POST THIRTEEN PERCENT DECLINE

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

 Nearly 6 percent growth anticipated for 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 2, 2009 - Tire shipments are projected to drop by approximately 13 percent in 2009 primarily due to sharp decreases in demand for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) passenger and commercial truck tires, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

Total 2009 tire shipments are projected to decline approximately 36 million units to 246 million units. This decrease reflects the difficult economic environment for automotive manufacturers over the past year, continued low consumer confidence and high unemployment. Tire shipments peaked at 321 million in 2000.

Vehicle miles travelled is on par with 2008 levels as the domestic economic conditions for both the consumer and commercial sectors appears to have stabilized and are poised for a rebound in 2010. As a result, the tire industry is expected to realize a nearly 6 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 2009 include:

  • Original Equipment (OE) Passenger Tires: Large decreases in domestic vehicle production due to plant shutdowns will result in a nearly 43 percent decrease in 2009 OE tire shipments to approximately 22 million units. The federal government’s “cash for clunkers” program pulled forward future years’ vehicle sales into 2009, which mitigated an even steeper drop in OE tire shipments. An improving economy and a rebound in vehicle production and sales are anticipated in 2010 resulting in a nearly 8 million unit increase projected for OE tire shipments. This projection does not account for any possible changes to the auto industry from further federal intervention or consumer incentive programs.
  • Original Equipment Light Truck (LT) Tires: This category will experience an approximate 9 percent decrease, or 300,000 units, in 2009 to nearly 2.7 million units due to slower economic conditions and its impact on the commercial sectors which utilize light truck vehicles. Little or no growth is anticipated for 2010 as domestic vehicle production is projected to remain weak.
  • Original Equipment Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: A nearly 41 percent decline to approximately 2.3 million units is anticipated for 2009 – a decrease of approximately 1.6 million units. The economic rebound anticipated for 2010 along with pent up demand for vehicles is projected to result in a net gain of approximately 350,000 units.
  • Replacement Passenger Tire: Shipments will decrease approximately 12 million units to nearly 180 million units for an approximate 6 percent decline. Growth is anticipated to resume in 2010 with the replacement sector estimated to increase by approximately 4 million units, or about 3 percent, as economic conditions improve. Non-RMA imports accelerated in July and August prior to imposition of a three year Chinese import tariff on Sept. 26th. These imports are anticipated to drop off dramatically in October and remain at depressed levels through the three year period.
  • Replacement Light Truck Tire: This segment represents a core group of consumers and the small commercial vehicle market – mainly “class 3” trucks. The onset of the economic recovery has limited the impact of the decline in LT tire shipments to nearly 3 million units, or 11 percent, for a total of approximately 26 million units. Little or no increase is anticipated in 2010 in keeping with commercial economic forecasts and the impact of the Chinese tire tariff.
  • Replacement Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: The market is anticipated to decrease by approximately 2.3 million units in 2009 to nearly 12.6 million units. Given the uneven economic rebound forecast for 2010, this market is expected to increase by less than 1 million units to nearly 13 million units.

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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’s Tire Market Analysis Committee is comprised of tire market professionals representing the major U.S. tire manufacturers, which account for more than 90 percent of all U.S. tire shipments. Their analyses and forecasts of current and future industry activity include a review of RMA tire industry and economic data, government trade figures, and vehicle sales and production. TMAC develops its consensus view for tire demand from this process. The views expressed in this release are not the sole opinion of any one committee member, member company, or RMA representative.