AKRON — Aftermarket demand for passenger tires in the U.S. has strengthened to a degree in the fourth quarter, leading the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) to revise upward its shipment forecast for that category for the year.
Shipments of light and medium truck tires, on the other hand, will fall short of 2022.
In the latest forecast, the USTMA projects replacement passenger tire shipments will end the year at 214.2 million units, up 17% from the trade group's mid-year forecast and 0.2% over the calendar year 2022 figure of 213.7 million units.
The USTMA projects replacement market light truck tire shipments will come in at 35.2 million units, down 5.6% from the 2022 full-year figure as well as 1.9% lower than the mid-year forecast.
Aftermarket shipments of medium truck/bus tires are projected to slip to 21 million units, down 21.3% from 2022 and 6.3% below the mid-year forecast.
The USTMA did not offer perspectives on the reasons for the revised shipment projections, but they appear to fall in line with the latest import data, which showed a rebound in passenger tire shipments from abroad while light and medium truck tire imports continued to lag behind 2022.
On the original equipment side of the ledger, the USTMA projects that passenger tire shipments to the North American vehicle industry will be up nearly 8% over 2022 at 44.9 million units. That's also a 2.3% improvement over the mid-year projection.
OE shipments of light and medium truck tires, on the other hand, will drop 4% and 1.3%, respectively from 2022, to 6 million and 6.4 million units. These forecasts are also down slightly from the mid-year data.
While passenger tire shipments will be up both for the replacement and OE markets, both will still fall short of shipments in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
In contrast, the projected 2023 replacement light and medium truck tire shipments will be 8.1% and 10.7% ahead of the 2019 shipment numbers.
The USTMA did not at this time comment on the prospects for 2024.