WASHINGTON-Tire shipments to the U.S. replacement market will not reach the levels forecast back in April, according to the most recent pronouncement from the Rubber Manufacturers Association's Tire Market Analysis Committee (TMAC). The TMAC, comprising forecast professionals from more than 20 major tire makers, has revised downward its expectations of aftermarket shipments of passenger, light truck and medium truck tires for 1995.
The group also projected original equipment shipments of light and medium truck tires will exceed its earlier estimates, while those of passenger and heavy truck tires will fail to meet them.
``After a brief economic slowdown during the first half of 1994, signs point to modest growth through the end of 1995 and into 1996,'' said Thomas E. Cole, president of the RMA. ``This trend will bring a slight dip in passenger tire demand in 1995, but will foster annual growth again in 1996.''
In the replacement market, the forecast for passenger tire shipments was revised down 3.5 percent, from 173 million units to 167 million, 1.8 percent lower than the record 170 million units shipped in 1994. That figure should rebound to 171 million units in 1996, the TMAC predicted.
Projected LT tire shipments were revised down 0.7 percent to 27.5 million units, still up 4.2 percent from last year's record 26.4 million units. Shipments in 1996 are forecast to reach 28.5 million units.
Replacement medium truck tire shipments, earlier forecast to equal 1994 at 12.2 million units, now are expected to slip 1.6 percent to 12 million units this year and 11.8 million units in 1996.
Heavy truck tire shipments were not specified, but are expected to fall below last year's level of 258,700 units in both 1995 and 1996. In April, the TMAC had predicted a 2.8-percent drop this year to 251,400 units.
By segment, the TMAC revised its forecast of original equipment tire shipments as follow:
Passenger-down 1.9 percent to 57.8 million units, 1.2 percent lower than 1994's record 58.5 million units;
Light truck-up 3.3 percent to 6.2 million units, 5.1 percent more than the record 5.9 million units shipped in 1994;
Medium truck-up 6.1 percent to 5.2 million units, 8.3 percent ahead of last year; and
Heavy truck-down 18.1 percent to 86,000 units from the 105,000 units forecast in April and 9.4 percent lower than actual 1994 shipments.
The TMAC also said that U.S. trade in passenger and light truck tires should grow in 1995. It forecast a near-1-percent increase in passenger tire imports to 46 million units, while exports will climb 9.4 percent to 23.2 million units.
Meanwhile, imports of light truck tires should jump 16.7 percent to 7.7 million units, the group said, while exports also will grow by an unspecified amount.