Weak economy takes toll on US tire shipments

Consumer and commercial tire shipments will grow less than 1% in 2002 due to a slower-than-expected rebound in the United States economy, the Rubber Manufacturers Association said.

Combined shipments of original-equipment tires and replacement tires for trucks and automobiles are expected to rise by only 2.7 million units this year, from the estimated 300 million shipped in 2001, according to a report by trade group's Tire Market Analysis Committee.

But the report said a strong rebound seems likely in 2003 as the economy starts to recover, with more growth seen for 2004.

Total tire shipments should expand by nearly 15 million units in 2003 and increase by another 15 million units in 2004 to break the 330-million-unit mark, the report said.

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