ERJ staff report (TB)
Washington DC -- The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has lowered its 2011 tyre shipment forecast by 9 million units, or 3 percentage points, on reduced expectations for US economic growth.
The RMA's new prediction, to 287 million units, represents an increase over 2010 in total shipments of about 2 million units, or nearly 1 percent, with almost every tyre category showing a marked drop from the association's previous forecast in August of 296 million units.
For 2012, the RMA remains â€œguardedly optimisticâ€ as US economic growth is anticipated to remain slow. Overall tyre shipments should rise by about 2 percent from the newly revised, lower 2011 shipment level to more than 290 million total units. Persistently high fuel costs, a drop in miles driven by consumers plus moderating growth in the commercial replacement tyre sector have led to a restrained outlook, the RMA said.
On the replacement end, a decline in vehicle miles driven and high energy costs have prompted the RMA to revise its 2011 passenger tyre shipment forecast to a decline of about 2 percent to about 196 million units. This is down from the association's previous prediction of 202 million.
For 2012, the RMA expects growth of less than 1 percent - about 1 million units - as economic growth continues to remain sluggish and vehicle miles driven ticks up slightly.
Replacement light truck tyre shipments also were revised downward to a 2-percent increase in 2011, or approximately 700,000 units. Sales should reach 29 million total units, down from the previously forecasted 31 million. For 2012, sales are expected to remain flat, the RMA said.
On the commercial end, replacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyre shipments are expected to remain strong for 2011, though the RMA has revised its prediction downward to 17 million total units from 18 million. For 2012, an addition 800,000 units are anticipated.
OE passenger tyre shipments were revised slightly lower to about 35 million units, a 5.4-percent increase over 2010. This is down from the association's previously forecasted 8.5-percent increase to 36 million units, which was attributed to decreased vehicle production related to supply chain disruption in Japan and Thailand.
The RMA anticipates that available credit and attractive vehicle prices will drive a 2012 increase in OE sales of about 13 percent to nearly 40 million units.
OE light truck tyre sales had been expected to increase 15 percent to about 4.2 million units, a slight drop from the 4.3 million, the RMA forecasted in August. The association cited a shift to larger vehicles resulting from more fuel-efficient designs and improved economic conditions in commercial sectors using light trucks. A 7-percent decrease, or about 300,000 units, is expected for 2012.
Most tyre categories have been revised downward from the RMA's previous forecast, but OE medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tyres are expected to rise 54 percent, reaching nearly 5 million units. This is up from the previously forecasted 47-percent increase to 4.7 million units.
The RMA said the increase â€œunderscores the pent-up demand for commercial trucks and trailers concurrent with a predicted nearly 4-percent increase in the Industrial Production Index.â€ For 2012, the category is expected to grow nearly 10 percent.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)