WASHINGTON—U.S. tire shipments rose across the board in December, recording levels higher than those of the 1998 month in every replacement and original equipment category reported by the Rubber Manufacturers Association. For the year, records were set in six of the eight categories. (See story on page 1.) The largest increase for the month came in the only tire type where shipments fell for the year as a whole: heavy truck tires. OE shipments of these large tires climbed 15.5 percent in December, though they fell 25 percent for the entire year. Replacement shipments rose 6.1 percent for the month, but slid 7.5 percent for the year.
The next-largest increases were in light truck tires, where OE shipments jumped 14.2 percent for the month, while replacement shipments grew 8.2 percent.
Shipments of replacement passenger tires advanced 8.2 percent in December, while OE shipments edged up 0.7 percent. For medium/wide-base truck tires, OE shipments increased 8 percent; replacement, 0.4 percent.