WASHINGTON (March 9, 2016) — The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is forecasting marginal growth this year for the U.S. replacement tire market — up just 0.3 percent for car and light truck tires — in spite of “favorable” economic conditions.
Aftermarket demand for truck/bus tires should fare somewhat better, the RMA said, at 1.1-percent growth. Overall replacement market shipments are expected to grow 0.7 percent, or 2.2 million units, this year to a record 254.1 million units.
Replacement car tire shipments of 206.8 million will eclipse the record set in 2014.
The RMA did not comment on the growth prospects for domestically produced tires vs. imports.
Original equipment demand will grow faster, according to the RMA, at 2.7 and 1.8 percent, respectively, for the car and light truck sectors, rising to 51.1 million and 4.5 million units.
OE truck tire shipments are seen falling 2.9 percent this year to 6 million units — down from a record 6.2 million units in 2015.
The association cited “steady economic improvement, low fuel prices and increases in vehicle miles traveled this year” for its growth forecasts.