Washington – The US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) has revised upward for a second time in four months its shipment forecast for 2020, reflecting "industry resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges" posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even with the latest revision, projected 2020 US tire shipments of 298.3 million units will fall 10.3% short of the 2019 total of 332.7 million, the USTMA said. The latest forecast represents an improvement of nearly 19 million units from the July forecast.
The trade association, which represents 13 US-based tire makers, did not elaborate on what factors it took into account in formulating its latest forecast, nor did it comment on the market in 2021 or beyond.
The USTMA is forecasting improvements in all the categories it reports, with the biggest change affecting light truck tire shipments, which it sees up 11.5% from the July forecast.
With the improvement, replacement LT tire shipments of 32 million units will finish the year 1.8% short of the 2019 total.
Replacement passenger tire shipments are projected to total 188.7 million units – up nearly 7% over the July forecast but still 9.5% shy of the 2019 total.
Medium/heavy truck tire replacement shipment units are seen ending the year at 18.5 million units, up 2.8% from the July forecast and just 2.1% below 2019.
On the OE side of the ledger, the USTMA posted slight improvements in its forecast for light and medium truck tire shipments and 5.4% better passenger tire shipments.
Despite the increased projections – to 36.8 million, 4.8 million and 4.5 million passenger, light truck and medium truck tires, respectively – OE shipments in 2020 will be down double digits from 2019: by 20.4%, 18% and 29% respectively.
The USTMA's forecasts are based on input from its members: Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Continental Tire the Americas LLC; Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.; Giti Tire (USA) Ltd.; Goodyear; Hankook Tire America Corp.; Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.; Michelin North America Inc.; Nokian Tyres plc; Pirelli Tire North America; Sumitomo Rubber Industries Inc.; Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc.; and Yokohama Tire Corp.
Separately, US Department of Commerce data show imports of tires were down measurably in all categories through the first nine months of 2020.
Passenger tire imports fell 16.3% to 96.5 million units; light truck tire imports were off 3.6% to 19.1 million units; and medium/heavy truck tire imports were down 16.8% to 9.18 million units.