The Rubber Manufacturers Association is expecting shipments of both OE and replacement truck tires to remain largely flat in 2013 from 2012.

An increase in demand for commercial trucks and trailers in 2012 boosted commercial OE tire shipments by 2.6%, and reached approximately 5.1 million units. However, demand for new trucks is expected to level off in 2013, and little or no change in the total OE tire units is anticipated.

This matches up with predictions from analysts and truck makers that the number of Class 8 commercial trucks sold in 2013 will be about the same as were sold in 2012.

When it comes to peplacement medium/wide-base/heavy on-highway commercial truck tires, the RMA reports that in 2012, this market declined by 4%, or 700,000 units, to 15.8 million units. There were two reasons for this: Fleets opted for new equipment and the economy remained sluggish. No increase is forecast for 2013 owing to a sluggish commercial sector.