2010 Tire Shipments to Increase Three Percent

Modest Recovery Anticipated In 2010 For Both Consumer and Commercial Sectors

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 12, 2010 – Tire shipments in 2010 are projected to increase by approximately 3 percent or approximately 7 million units to 267 million units, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Total shipments experienced an 8 percent drop in 2009 to 259.7 million units.

The increase in tire shipments reflects the onset of the economic rebound, an increase in vehicle miles traveled, and a slight uptick in auto sales. As a result, this rebound is projected to extend into 2011 reaching approximately 275 million units, as the economic recovery gathers momentum.

RMA’s Tire Market Analysis Committee forecast for key categories and their respective segments for 2010 include:

  • Original Equipment Passenger Tires:

Passenger OE shipments declined by nearly 35 percent in 2009 to 24.6 million units – a low point for recent history – attributable to the economy, and large vehicle production cuts. For 2010, light vehicle production is forecast to rebound slightly resulting in an approximate 21 percent increase in OE passenger tire shipments to nearly 30 million units.

  • Original Equipment Light Truck (LT) Tires:

Consumer and commercial demand for LT OE tires were less severely impacted by the light vehicle production cuts. As a result shipments declined only 4 percent to 2.79 million units, a 100,000 unit year-over-year drop. For 2010 this category will experience a nearly 10 percent increase to more than 3 million units reflecting a strengthening economy.

  • Original Equipment Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires:

For 2009, this category decreased by 36.9 percent to 2.4 million units, attributable to the continued large economic slowdown in the commercial sector. For 2010, commercial activity is expected to pick up resulting in a nearly 8 percent increase, or approximately 180,000 additional units.

  • Replacement Passenger Tire:

The sluggish economy coupled with consumers looking to extract more miles out of their tires, contributed to a decline of 4.3 million units in 2009, representing a 2.2 percent decrease for a total of 189.5 million units. However this sector is forecast to increase by nearly 1.7 million units in 2010 – or approximately 1 percent as the measured economic recovery gains hold and the number of vehicle miles traveled increases.

  • Replacement Light Truck Tire:

This market segment realized a drop of 6.5 percent, or 1.9 million units, for a total of 27.5 million units in 2009 as soft economic conditions impacted small commercial vehicles. Given that the number of vehicles for this market remains steady, the soft economic conditions and fewer vehicle miles travelled will contribute to another nearly 1 percent decline in replacement LT tire shipments in 2010 to approximately 27.3 million units.

  • Replacement Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires:

This market declined to 12.9 million units in 2009, a decrease of nearly 2 million units or 13.2 percent. However, this market will realize an increase of approximately 600,000 units in 2010 as the economy picks up, and more goods are shipped.

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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 over 90percent 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.