No Growth for 2012 Tire Shipments

No Growth for 2012 Tire Shipments
Nearly 2 Percent Rebound Anticipated In 2013

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

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 18, 2012 – Tire shipments are projected to remain unchanged in 2012 at 284 millionon units, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) as an increase in OE shipments offset a decrease in replacement shipments.

The lack of overall growth can primarily be attributed to continued economic sluggishness. However, an increase in vehicle miles traveled and anticipated economic growth should result in a nearly 2 percent increase in 2013, or approximately 6 million units to 290 million total units.

Original equipment (OE) tire shipments for both the light vehicle and commercial truck sectors are forecast to increase nearly 13 percent for 2012 due to increased demand for light vehicles and commercial trucks. Nearly 4 percent growth is forecast for 2013 as new vehicle demand is expected to increase light vehicle sales to more than 15 million.

Replacement tire shipments will drop to 234 million units in 2012 – a nearly 6 million unit decrease or about 2.5 percent. For 2013, an increase of more than 3 million units is anticipated as growth in the Gross Domestic Product and the Industrial Production Index for both the consumer and commercial sectors is projected.

RMA’s Tire Market Analysis Committee forecast for key categories and their respective segments for 2012 include:

  • Original Equipment (OE) Passenger Tires: Passenger OE tire shipments are anticipated to increase to 41 million units in 2012, a more than 5 million unit improvement, or slightly more than 15 percent, as light vehicle purchases continue to increase. 2013 OE passenger shipments are expected to increase more than 4 percent or 1.7 million units. Increased OE shipments are anticipated due to projected total light vehicle sales of greater than 15 million in 2013 – about a 700,000 unit increase above 2012 vehicle sales of more than 14 million.
  • Original Equipment Light Truck (LT) Tires: Light truck OE tires are projected to increase nearly 2 percent in 2012 to 4.3 million units as domestic vehicle production using LT tires experienced a small increase due to soft economic conditions in this sector. This category is forecast to grow by an additional 2.8 percent to nearly 4.4 million units in 2013.
  • Original Equipment Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: Increased demand for commercial trucks and trailers will boost commercial OE tire shipments by more than 5 percent for 2012, reaching approximately 5.2 million units. However, a sluggish forecast for the 2013 Industrial Production Index should limit growth in 2013 commercial OE shipments to approximately 2 percent, or nearly 5.3 million total units.
  • Replacement Passenger Tire: 2012 shipments will decrease by over 4 million units, or nearly 2 percent, to 190 million units as anticipated demand failed to materialize due to continued soft economic conditions and cautious consumers. According to R.L. Polk, “…..the increased average age of vehicles on the road, which now stands at 10.8 years for cars and light trucks combined, offer promise for the automotive aftermarket.” These factors bode well for this market segment, with an expected increase of 3 million tire units projected for 2013.
  • Replacement Light Truck Tire: Total 2012 LT replacement shipments will be approximately 28 million, a decrease of approximately 600,000 units, or 2 percent. Little or no growth is forecast for 2013 as the economy remains soft and new light truck sales further weaken demand for replacement tires.
  • Replacement Medium/Wide-Base/Heavy On-Highway Commercial Truck Tires: For 2012, this market is forecast to decline by approximately 5 percent, or 900,000 units, to 15.7 million units as fleets opt for new equipment and the economy remains sluggish. However, 2013 shipments are expected to increase nearly 4 percent, or approximately 600,000 units.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that make tires in the U.S.

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.