October 10, 2013
CUV/SUV segments branch out
Tire makers offer larger rim diameters and more sizes
The Nexen N’Priz RH7 is the OE fitment on the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander.
There are plenty of reasons for tire makers to be optimistic about the CUV and SUV tire markets in the United States.
A declining unemployment rate and a rebound in housing have created good economic conditions, and consumers are spending money on vehicles. They’re also driving more, and a growing number of the vehicles they choose to drive are CUVs.
According to R.L. Polk & Co., nearly one million more new CUVs were purchased in the U.S. in 2012 than in 2008 at the height of the economic downturn. Consumers purchased 2.28 million new CUVs in 2008 and 3.24 million in 2012. During that time, SUV sales did not fare as well. In 2008 there were 1.27 million new SUVs sold to U.S. consumers; in 2012 it was 1.18 million, a decrease of more than 88,000.
While the CUV segment continues to grow, the SUV segment is still holding ground.
“The SUV/LT segment, in both vehicles and tires, reached a recent high mark in 2007, but then dipped sharply from 2008 to 2010 before beginning a steady upward growth trend in recent years,” says a spokesperson for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. “This is attributable to the functionality of these vehicles, easing credit that helped the vehicle sales gains, and more stable fuel prices.”
Consumers are holding onto their cars for longer periods of time. Polk says the average age of CUV and SUV vehicles (segments combined) on the road is 8.98 years as of Jan. 1, 2013, up 1.66 years from 7.32 years in 2008. This shift is creating replacement tire opportunities for tire makers and dealers.
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