It's worth noting as well that the pace of importing picked up considerably in the second quarter. In passenger tires, the jump was nearly 74%, a stark contrast to the first quarter, when imports essentially were unchanged from the first three months of 2020.
In the case of light and medium truck tires, shipments from overseas through June were rolling into the U.S. at rates — up 51.2% and 41.5%, respectively — that could yield record import levels.
At the same time, though, the effect of the antidumping and countervailing duties imposed on consumer tires from South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand is playing out clearly in the marketplace.
In passenger tires, overall imports increased 30.4% to 75.6 million units, but the relative strength of the key players is skewing quickly in favor of countries with lower tariffs.
By comparison, the USTMA projects that the U.S. passenger tire replacement market will grow roughly 10% this year to about 224 million units.
Shipments from Taiwan — where all but Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co. Ltd. face antidumping duties of at least 84.75% — dropped 31.3% this year through the first six months and are down nearly 40% from their peak in 2019.
Among the tire makers hit with the elevated duties are Federal Corp., Hwa Fong Rubber Industry Co. Ltd., Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd., etc. Nankang Rubber Industry Co. Ltd. was assessed a duty of 101.84%, while Cheng Shin/Maxxis International was assessed a lower duty of 20%.
As for others affected by the latest round of import duties, imports from South Korea dropped 3.1% from 2020 and are down 28% from 2019, whereas shipments from Thailand continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than the overall market, 9.5% over 2020, and at a pace below that of 2019, the data show.
With imports from these three key sources on the wane, other sources are on the march forward.
Most notably, imports from Mexico doubled in the period under review and are up nearly 45% over 2019, to 9.54 million units.
This shift would indicate that the major tire makers Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Goodyear (including Cooper Tire & Rubber), Group Michelin and/or Pirelli & C. S.p.A. — which control the vast majority of tire manufacturing capacity in Mexico — are tapping into their operations there to a greater extent than ever.