Washington, D.C. – Tire shipments in the U.S. are expected to drop more than seven per cent in 2009, following a drop of nearly nine per cent in 2008, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

Total tire shipments in 2009 are projected to decline approximately 21 million units, to 261 million units. That level was last experienced in 1993, and is a drop from the 321 million peak in 2000.

The Association said that the decrease reflects the continued erosion of consumer confidence, higher unemployment, depressed auto sales, a decline in vehicle miles travelled, and downward trends in domestic economic conditions. A turnaround is projected to begin in 2010, in line with economic forecasts, where the industry is expected to realize a modest recovery to about 270 million units.

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