WASHINGTONThe Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is projecting a slight increase in 2015 U.S. tire shipments.
Consumer and truck tire shipments will total 311.2 million units in 2015, a 0.1-percent increase over the 310.7 million shipped in 2014, according to the association, and about 0.2 percent higher than the 310.6 million forecast in late December.
Passenger and light truck replacement tire shipments will drop slightly from the 2014 totals, the RMA said, to 205.3 million and 28.5 million units, respectively.
However, the projected 2015 aftermarket passenger shipment total is about 0.6 percent ahead of the December forecast, while the light truck tire shipment forecast will be 4.2 percent shy of the December forecast, and roughly equal to the 2014 total of 28.7 million.
The Washington-based trade group did not elaborate on its reasons for changing its earlier forecast.
Replacement medium/heavy truck tire shipments of 17.8 million units represent a 0.6-percent gain over the December forecast and a 2.3-percent improvement over 2014 shipments of 17.4 million.
On the OE side, the RMA said it expects shipments to rise in 2015: passenger tires to 49 million from 47.8 million; light truck tires to 4.7 million from 4.6 million; and medium/heavy truck tires to 5.9 million from 5.7 million.
The projected shipments of passenger and medium/heavy truck tires to vehicle makers will rise about 0.6 and 5.4 percent over the RMA's December projected figures, while light truck tire shipments will be 2.1 percent shy of the earlier forecast.