Washington –The US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) is projecting tire-shipment growth across the board in 2018, albeit at rather modest rates ranging from 0.4 to 3.7%.
Overall, shipments of passenger, light and medium/heavy truck tires are forecast to rise 0.8% to 319.1 million units, the USTMA said, without indicating what factors are influencing its forecast.
The most promising category, the USTMA said, is original equipment truck tires, shipments of which are expected to rise 3.7% to 5.6%. This follows solid 9.7% growth in 2017 over 2016.
Shipments of replacement passenger tires, the largest single category, are expected to rise 0.4% to 210.6 million units, the USTMA said.
Replacement light and medium truck tire shipments are forecast to rise 1.5 and 1.7%, respectively, to 31.8 million and 20 million units, the association said.
Original equipment passenger and light truck tire shipments should rise 1 and 1.4%, respectively, to 45.7 million and 5.5 million units.
The USTMA said this forecast was made "prior to recent US tariff announcements affecting sources of imported steel" used in tire manufacturing.
The USTMA represents 11 tire companies, which collectively operate 56 tire-related plants in 18 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales, accounting for 82% of shipments referenced in the forecast.
The USTMA recently accepted Giti Tire USA as its 12th member.