Shipments of replacement passenger, light and medium truck tires in the U.S. all rose last year, as surging demand in the fourth quarter overcame sluggish demand in the first nine months, according to preliminary Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) data for 2003.
Production of passenger and light truck tires in the U.S., on the other hand, fell while imports recorded double-digit growth across the board, according to data from the RMA and Department of Commerce.
Replacement passenger shipments rose 2 percent last year-to a projected 194.4 million units-as shipments in the fourth quarter climbed 4 percent over the 2002 period, the preliminary RMA data show. Over the same period, imports surged almost 13 percent, to nearly 80 million units, according to preliminary Commerce Department figures.
Aftermarket shipments of light truck tires were up 1.9 percent, to 34.3 million units. Imports rose 13 percent to more than 19.5 million units, while production fell 2.1 percent to 32.4 million units.
Replacement market demand for medium truck tires pushed shipments up 5.4 percent, to 15.5 million units. Running counter to the other categories, though, U.S. production rose and imports fell, by 7.4 and 2 percent, respectively, the RMA and government data show.