Production of passenger tires rose to 126.1 million units, light truck tires to 26.4 million units and medium truck tires to 14.8 million units, the RMA data show. The combined total of 167.8 million units was the highest since 2011.
By contrast, imports of passenger and medium truck tires rose 0.4 and 9.3 percent, respectively, to 149.5 million and 14.4 million units. Imports of light truck tires slipped 6.4 percent to 24.3 million units.
Imports of passenger tires from China — the object of the U.S.'s elevated import duties — fell 53.2 percent from record levels in 2014, but overall imports were up slightly as South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan all registered double-digit increases over 2014 to compensate for the drop in Chinese shipments.
U.S. tire makers also boosted their exports last year across the board, shipping 2.1-percent more passenger tires, 2.7-percent more light truck tires and 5.4-percent more medium truck tires to export markets, the RMA data show.
Exports represented roughly 20 percent of car and light truck tire production and 16 percent of medium truck/bus tire output. Canada and Mexico represented roughly 80 percent of U.S. car tire exports, two-thirds of light truck tire exports and more than 90 percent of truck/bus tire exports.
On the sales side, Bridgestone Americas solidified its claim to the top spot in North America with estimated tire-related sales of $10.5 billion, measurably ahead of Michelin North America Inc.'s $9.5 billion and Goodyear's $7 billion.
Bridgestone also is considered a leader on the retail of the ledger, reporting an estimated $4.5 billion in sales through its Bridgestone Retail unit, slightly ahead of mega retailer Discount Tire/America's Tire.
Discount Tire operated 910 stores are year-end 2015, compared with the 2,313 stores under Bridgestone's control.