WASHINGTON-Tire shipments to the U.S. replacement market in the first three months of 1996 generally fell below the levels shipped in the first quarter of 1995, according to data released recently by the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Passenger tires, however, represented a significant exception, as replacement shipments climbed 8.6 percent in March to push the three-month total 3.2 percent above last year's.
A 9-percent drop in shipments to original equipment customers, combined with a 7-percent drop in exports, sent total passenger tire shipments for the quarter 1 percent below 1995 levels.
For light truck tires, aftermarket shipments were virtually unchanged in March from a year ago, while those for the quarter were down 1.5 percent. A 10.7-percent drop in OE shipments and a 9.5-percent decline in exports combined to push total shipments 4.1 percent below 1995 for the quarter.
March shipments of replacement medium and wide-base truck tires slumped 7.5 percent, as shipments for the three months skidded 11.8 percent. OE shipments plunged 19.8 percent for the quarter, sending total shipments 13.5 percent lower than in 1995.