MARCO ISLAND, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2014) — Shipments of OTR tires in the U.S. are expected to rebound this year after plunging 21 percent last year.
That's according to Tim Easter, director of OTR sales at Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC), who delivered the industry's annual OTR tire trends report during the Tire Industry Association (TIA) 2014 Off-the-Road Tire Conference on Marco Island.
Mr. Easter based the forecast on expectations that the U.S. and Canadian economies will show signs of growth this year, even if growth is limited to just a couple of percentage points.
He said shipments should rise about 4.3 percent this year after two years of decline—13 percent in 2011 and 21 percent last year. The market should keep growing through 2017, Mr. Easter added, but only by a few percentage points a year.
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The YTC executive did not provide actual shipment data, but said 25-inch tires make up nearly 46 percent of the 29 percent, with radials at 29 percent and bias-ply at 16 percent. He said 24-inch tires make up 21.6 percent, while those 49 inches in rim diameter and larger represent 13.3 percent.
In a separate presentation, Dick Gust, president of national accounts for Liberty Tire Recycling L.L.C. and co-chairman of TIA's Environmental Advisory Council, put the market at about 3 million units a year, with the construction segment accounting for more than three-fourths of the market.
In general, the market breaks down roughly 68/32 radial/bias, Mr. Easter said, with only marginal growth in favor of radials.
In terms of specific market segments, tires for port materials-handling equipment should be a bright spot, Mr. Easter said, based on government expectations of a record year in international trade.
Depending on how—or whether—Congress resolves the pending funding crisis in highway infrastructure funding, road construction could yield some unexpected gains, Mr. Easter noted.
As it stands, however, estimates show the U.S. should have about $67 billion available this year for transportation infrastructure work—far short of the $200 billion needed for road and bridge maintenance and improvements, he said.
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