Shipments of original equipment commercial truck tires this year are expected to be down about 16 percent from 2007, at nearly 3.9 million units, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

This decrease is attributed to the larger than anticipated economic slowdown in the commercial sector. This will continue into 2009 and as a result, RMA forecasts a further decrease of approximately 8 percent or 300,000 units for a total of 3.6 million units. Given this protracted economic downturn, the expected pull-forward effect of truck sales into 2009 owing to anticipated changes in EPA regulations in 2010 has been discounted.

Replacement commercial truck tire shipments are also falling. RMA forecasts a decline to approximately 15.4 million units in 2008, a decrease of 7.1 percent over 2007. The market will see another decrease of 300,000 units in 2009, RMA predicts, as fewer goods will be transported as a result of the economic slowdown and protracted recovery.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 80 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.