CLEVELAND — Global demand for tires is projected to rise 4.1 percent per year for the coming four years.
That rate is paced by 5-plus-percent growth in Asia/Pacific, Latin/Central America and Africa/Middle East, according to “World Tires,” a study from research firm Freedonia Group Inc.
Unit sales should reach 3 billion units in 2019, Freedonia said, while the value of those tires will increase 7 percent a year to $258 billion.
Asia/Pacific, which already accounts for more than half of the world's tire shipments, will pace the world market in the coming years, Freedonia said, averaging 5.8-percent growth through 2019 to reach 1.64 billion units. China, which accounted for almost one-fourth of global tire demand in 2014, will remain one of the fastest growing national markets for tires.
Tire demand in Africa/Middle East and Latin/Central America will grow 5.6 and 5.3 percent, respectively, Freedonia predicts, to 156 million and 179 million units.
North America and Western Europe, the second and third largest markets, will each grow only 1 percent a year through 2019, reaching 476 million and 389 million units, respectively.
Eastern European demand will grow 3 percent annually, pushing shipments in the region to 169 million units.
The Cleveland-based firm said it bases its growth projections on rising incomes in developing regions that will spur growth in the number of vehicles in use, fueling demand for tires.
Higher income levels and expanding economic activity also will contribute to increases in average annual vehicle mileage, theoretically boosting replacement rates. However, the increase in miles driven will be offset by rising tire quality, including tire life, which will exert downward pressure on replacement rates.
The over-the-road motor vehicle market will remain the largest outlet for tire demand, accounting for two-thirds of the total in 2019.