WASHINGTON-U.S. tire shipments to the replacement and original equipment markets posted strong gains in nearly all categories in March, according to recent data from the Rubber Manufacturers Association. In passenger tires, monthly aftermarket shipments grew 7.1 percent to 15.9 million units and now stand 9.4 percent ahead of last year for the first quarter at 41.6 million units. OE shipments also improved, rising 8.4 percent for the month to 5.5 million tires and 14.9 percent to 15.5 million units for the year-to-date.
With the exception of tractor implement tires, which grew a modest 0.2 percent for the month, shipments of all other tire types scored impressive aftermarket and OE increases.
Replacement shipments of light truck tires rose 7.5 percent in March to 2.15 million units, while those of medium and wide based truck tires increased 26.5 percent to 1.22 million units.
Aftermarket shipments of heavy and large off-the-road tires, meanwhile, climbed 34.2 percent to 47,500 units. Industrial and utility tire shipments grew 9.4 percent to 324,000 tires.
In Canada, replacement tire shipments also registered strong monthly growth. Passenger tire shipments increased 16.8 percent to 959,176 units, while those of truck and bus tires grew 19.9 percent to 258,496 units.