WASHINGTON, DC — Medium truck tire shipments in 2003 – both OE and replacement – saw their biggest increases in years, according to preliminary tire shipment data released by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). Meanwhile shipments of passenger and light truck tires saw only modest growth.
Despite a wild year of carmaker and dealer incentives, it doesn’t appear the OE market had such a good 2003. Compared to 2002 shipments, OE P-metric tire shipments actually fell 4.9 percent, totaling 54.54 million units. Meanwhile, OE shipments of LT-metric tires fell 4.2 percent vs. 2002, reaching just 7.95 million units for the year.
P-metric tire shipments saw slight growth overall. OE shipments grew just 1.9 percent vs. 2002 to 34.26 million tires, while replacement shipments increased 2 percent to 194.39 million tires.
Imports of P-metric tires, however, grew substantially, jumping 15.8 percent vs. 2002 to 81.68 million, and LT-metric imports increased by 12.8 percent vs. 2002 to 19.61 million units.
Medium truck tire shipments saw the most significant gains, perhaps heralding recovery for the U.S. economy. OE shipments of medium truck tires grew 7.7 percent over 2002 to 4.16 million tires, the greatest number of OE tires shipped since 2000’s 5.59 million units. Replacement shipments increased 5.4 percent over 2002 numbers, reaching 15.52 million units, the most in at least seven years. At the same time, imports of medium truck tires dropped 1.6 percent, totaling 7.03 million tires.
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