WASHINGTON — The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) has downgraded its forecast for replacement market passenger and light truck tire shipments for 2022, while at the same time raising the outlook for replacement truck tire shipments.
The trade group also raised its forecast for original equipment shipments for all three categories.
In August, the USTMA's outlook was for 0.9% growth, to 226.8 million units. That's a swing of 10.3 million units.
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The 2022 shipment total comes up 2.5% shy of 2019, as well, the USTMA data show.
Replacement market demand for light truck tires is expected to drop 2.4% to 37.7 million units, according to the latest figures. In August, the USTMA projected 4.8% growth in the category, to 39.5 million units.
Despite the revised figure, the projected 2022 total is 15.7% greater than in 2019.
Full-year shipments of replacement market truck/bus tires, on the other hand, are now projected to grow 15.3% to 26.4 million units; that compares with the group's forecast in August of 6.5% growth to 24.3 million units.
Compared with 2019, the 2022 total is 39.2% higher, the USTMA data show.
In revising its forecast for the year, the USTMA cited a number of contributing factors, including inflation, higher interest rates, risk of recession, higher dealer inventories, lower vehicle sales and a reduction in vehicle miles traveled due to continued work-from-home status and high gas prices.
This combination of factors resulted in an anomaly the trade group said it's experienced only one other time in the past 30-plus years — replacement passenger and light truck tire shipments were higher in the first half of the year than in the latter half.
This year shipments trended lower in the July to October period. Independently, the pace of consumer tire importing plateaued in the third quarter, according to Tire Business' analysis of the most recent Census Bureau data.
Demand for replacement truck tires rose, the USTMA said, likely linked to a continued shift in consumer spending patterns (online shopping/delivery) and freight and tonnage being at an all-time high.
In the OE sectors, the USTMA is forecasting:
- passenger tire shipments of 41.2 million units, up 9.9%;
- light truck tire shipments of 6.2 million units, up 9.7%; and
- medium truck/bus tire shipments of 6.4 million units, up 9.1%.
The OE category projections are largely dominated by the computer chip and component shortage, the USTMA said. Since July, the shortage was slightly improved, which resulted in higher monthly shipments and total 2022 projections.