Over the last five years, Modern Tire Dealer has written regularly on the CUV (crossover utility vehicle) tire segment, based on the popularity of CUVs.
2011: “There is constant pressure on vehicle manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce weight while improving ride quality.
This also applies to those who require more utility than a passenger car. The emergence of the crossover utility segment is evidence of this trend.”
2012: “The SUV market will continue to decline, as many consumers have been crossing over to the CUV segment.”
“As this shift continues from traditional light trucks and sport-utility vehicles to car-based CUVs, tire manufacturers have also adapted and made the shift to more specialized CUV tires while continuing to offer LT and SUV tires.”
2013: “A major trend we have identified in both CUVs and SUVs is the preference for larger rim diameter fitments.”
“OEMs are releasing more crossover variants, so the tire industry has responded with sizes and patterns to cover these new vehicles.”
2014: “With CUV sales far outpacing auto sales overall in terms of growth rate, the market for P- and Euro-metric light truck tires is growing significantly. We are also seeing more and more CUVs come OE with H-, V- and even W-rated tires.”
As this time line of quotes from our magazine shows, the CUV market has grown steadily. That trend is continuing in 2016.
CUVs remain a hot vehicle, and tire manufacturers continue to make sure they can cover the CUV market size-wise. Earlier this year, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC even added CUV sizes to its DriveGuard run-flat tire line.
The top CUV tire size in the U.S. is 225/65R17 (see sidebar), which also is the seventh most popular size among vehicles in operation. In 2015, it was the fourth most popular original equipment size — and fifth most popular replacement size.
Falken Tire Corp. attributes its growth to Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chevy Equinox and Ford Escape fitments.Crossover tire concept
Toyota Motor Corp. introduced its Lexus UX luxury crossover concept vehicle at the Paris Motor Show earlier this month. The CUV tires also were conceptual: the Goodyear Urban Crossover, size 255/50R21.
Toyota describes the vehicle design as “a futuristic, inside-out concept which creates a strong synergy between exterior and interior styling.” Goodyear says it followed that inside-out philosophy when designing the Urban Crossover. The spokes of the rim flow smoothly into the sidewall design, which gives the tire its urban crossover look.
It looks like MTD was right in 2008 when we wrote: “Crossover vehicles are here to stay.”
Top 10 CUV tire sizes
The top 10 CUV tire sizes represent 50% of the total CUV tire population, according to Rick Brennan, vice president of marketing for Falken Tire Corp.
There are 3.7 million more vehicles on the road with size 225/65R17 tires than there were in 2012, he adds.