WASHINGTON-U.S. manufacturers produced fewer tires in April than they did a year ago, continuing a manufacturing downturn that began last year, the latest data from the Rubber Manufacturers Association shows.
Monthly tire shipments to the original equipment and replacement markets fell as well, dragged down by the slump in new vehicle sales and the malaise that has gripped the U.S. economy.
Production of heavy truck tires slipped the most of any tire category during the month, declining 35 percent from a year ago. Medium and wide base truck tire production, meanwhile, fell 23.4 percent, while that of light truck and passenger tires declined 22.3 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively. Year-to-date production figures show passenger tires down 10.2 percent, light truck tires down 16.2 percent, medium and wide base truck tires down 18.5 percent and heavy truck tires down 31.4 percent.
Shipments of OE and replacement tires were lower in every category except heavy truck tires, which improved slightly during the month from April last year.