Washington – Shipments of replacement passenger tires are expected to jump nearly 6% this year to a record 223.9 million units, according to figures released by the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) 7 Aug.
The forecast is in sharp contrast with earlier projections from the trade group, which estimated replacement passenger tire shipments would drop 0.3% from a "historically strong" 2018.
The trade group — which represents a dozen tire makers with manufacturing capacity in the US — provided no explanation for its changed forecast, which represents a swing of 6.4 million tires.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reports total miles driven by US vehicle owners is steadily rising, hitting an annualised rate of 3.24 trillion miles in May.
At the same time the USTMA lowered its expectations for replacement market truck/bus tires by nearly a million units, forecasting an 11% drop in shipments this year to 19.4 million units.
In March, the group said it expected truck/bus tire shipments to drop 6.4%, or 1.5 million units.
Again, the Washington-based group provided no guidance for the change. Elevated import duties on truck tires from China are thought to be a key reason for the reduced forecast.
Overall, the USTMA is projecting 2019 US tire shipments will increase 0.8% to 332.9 million units, as the increased replacement passenger tire demand will offset the lower truck/bus replacement tire and OE passenger tire shipments.
This projection also is a reversal of the March forecast.
By market sector, the group's shipment forecasts are;
Replacement passenger tires — up 2.6% to 223.6 million units;
Replacement light truck tires — up 1% to 32 million units;
Replacement medium truck/bus tires — down 11% to 19.4 million units;
OE passenger tires — down 3.9% to 45.2 million units;
OE light truck tires — up 6.3% to 6 million units;
OE medium truck/bus tires — up 3.7% to 6.7 million units.