WASHINGTON—Shipments of replacement tires to the U.S. aftermarket rose in June from 1999 levels, and were generally ahead for the first half of the year, according to data from the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
Shipments to original equipment manufacturers were generally lower, however.
Replacement passenger tire shipments grew 1.4 percent in June and 3.4 percent for the first six months of the year, while light truck tire shipments climbed 10 and 6.7 percent, respectively. Medium truck tire shipments rose 9.9 percent in June, but fell just shy of 1999 levels for the six months.
The prospects for the second half of the year look good, according to Dennis Virag, an analyst for Automotive Consulting Group in Detroit. "The nation continues to drive," he said. "Gas prices haven't put a dent in the inclination to drive." Customers probably will look more closely at tires before purchasing, he added, in light of the Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. recall.