WASHINGTON — Newly released data from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) show the U.S. tire industry fared better than the overall economy during the economic depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The USTMA reports spending on tires from February to April 2020 fell 15%. While the drop is substantial, the figure compares favorably with the overall spending decline.
"The collapse in travel for work, pleasure and shopping in 2020 drove demand for virtually all goods and services associated with travel down sharply," the USTMA reported.
"As a result, spending on both new and used light vehicles fell by nearly a third, while spending on tires fared comparatively better, only falling 15% from February to April, while total consumer spending slumped nearly 19%."
These details are emerging as the trade group representing tire manufacturers with operations on U.S. soil commissioned an economic analysis aimed at the next five years.
“Our experience navigating the impacts of the pandemic reaffirmed that tire manufacturing is a resilient and essential industry driving the economic engine of the United States, and supporting more than 284,000 jobs,” USTMA CEO Anne Forristall Luke said.
Word of the USTMA's latest economic work comes as President Joe Biden's administration pushes for a massive infrastructure improvement spending package.
"There is a natural connection between priorities of the tire manufacturing industry and revitalizing infrastructure. The safety and sustainability of the life cycle of our products depends on having safe bridges and roads to travel, and even exploring how recycled tires can help create longer-lasting roads," Ms. Forristall Luke said.
The tire industry showed signs of recovery in recent months. These include what the CEO called "better than expected results" for 2020 tire shipments.