WASHINGTON — Replacement market demand for tires is proving weaker than expected thus far this year, prompting the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) to scale back its aftermarket shipment projections for 2023 by more than 10 million units, or 3.6%, from its earlier forecast.
Hardest hit is the commercial truck/bus sector, where the new shipment forecast of 22.4 million units is 11.1% lower than the industry's forecast from February, as well as nearly 16% below the 2022 shipment total.
The new forecasted total is, however, 18.5% ahead of the total from 2019, the last full year before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USTMA data show.
Replacement passenger tire shipments are expected to reach 210.5 million units this year, down 2.5% from the February forecast and 1.5% behind the 2022 total.
Replacement market light truck tire shipments should reach 35.9 million units this year, the USTMA said, down 5.2% from the February forecast and 3.6% from the 2022 total.
The USTMA did not offer perspective on the reasons for the diminished forecast.
On the original equipment side of the ledger, the new shipment projection of 43.9 million passenger tires is 3.1% ahead of the earlier forecast as well as 5.6% ahead of the 2022 total.
The forecast for OE light truck tire shipments is for 6.4 million units, down 3.2% from the February projection and 0.5% from the 2022 total.
Medium/heavy truck tire shipments for OE are up 1.6% over the February forecast and on par with 2022 shipments.
Overall, the USTMA projects shipments of passenger, light and medium truck tires of 325.4 million units, down 2.7% from the February forecast and 2% from the 2022 total.
The USTMA's figures include data from its 12 member companies as well as estimates for imports.