Expect more P-metric light truck tires for CUVs
In our October issue, we outlined the state of the P-metric light truck tire market in plenty of detail. Executives from 13 tire manufacturers provided their insights into a market segment that, by nearly all accounts, is growing.
That begs the follow-up question: What does the future hold for P-metric light truck tires?
Michael Mathis, co-owner and vice president of international marketing, Atturo Tire Corp.: Atturo believes that as there are more aggressively styled and capable small trucks added to the market, the consumer demand for equally styled and capable tires will grow.
Justin Hayes, consumer tire product manager, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC: We expect the vehicle mix and shift from SUVs to CUVs to continue, with continued strength in light truck sales.
Barry Terzaken, light truck and SUV tire product manager, Continental Tire the Americas LLC: Continued vehicle sophistication, including comfort, handling, safety and the ever present pressure of fuel efficiency, pave a clear path forward.
Rick Brennan, executive director of marketing, Falken Tire Corp.: We will see the current CUV trend drive more ride comfort and passenger tire-like performance needs.
David Shelton, director, product marketing, Giti Tire (USA) Ltd.: CUV popularity will continue to grow as they offer better visibility and additional space compared to passenger vehicles, while still providing the stability, handling, style and security consumers expect from their sedan. Wheel and tire manufacturers will continue efforts to meet this growing market demand by providing the aesthetics, handling, performance and ride characteristics that meet the consumers’ needs and expectations. This will create additional sizing and SKU counts for tire manufacturers and dealers alike.
Jim Davis, manager of public relations, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.: The all-terrain segment, which includes Standard Load and LT, represents about a fifth of the total replacement tire market. After the downturn in 2008-2009, this segment is rebounding strongly and shows good growth. This follows the trend of new vehicle sales of SUVs and pickups.
Henry Kopacz, public relations and social media manager, Hankook Tire America Corp.: We expect to see a rise in demand for performance SUV and light truck tires in the near future.
Steven Liu, director of consumer product marketing, Hercules Tire & Rubber Co: Essentially, P-metric light truck tires and LT-designated tires are designed for different purpose/applications. While P-metric light truck tires have grown in popularity and consumers are gaining a better understanding of the difference, the driving factor in sales would be the continued refinement on the key purchase criteria.
S.B. Kim, director of marketing, Kumho Tire U.S.A.: In the future, there may be a decrease of P-metric tires within the industry, fully transferring to Euro-metric sizing for the highway-terrain and SUV/CUV/light truck segments. Some P-metric tires may still be available in the all-terrain segment for those who enjoy a lighter tire with more aggressive cosmetic attributes, but do not require high load capacity.
Stephen Ewing, product manager, Pirelli Tire North America Inc.: The future sales of passenger tires intended for use on light trucks will continue to grow as a percentage of the total market. We expect the push into higher speed ratings to continue as the OEMs push the envelope on horsepower in response to consumer demand. We also anticipate that low rolling resistance will continue to be a priority for OE applications.
Jon Vance, senior director of product marketing, TBC Wholesale: This market segment will continue to grow as a percentage of the overall replacement market, driven by OE. And there will be more players in the game trying to capture a bigger share of this pie.
Jim Mayfield, senior director of product planning and technical services, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp: We see this continuing for the foreseeable future, with the OE fitments leading the way for replacement P-metric light truck tire sales.
Bob Abram, product planning manager, Yokohama Tire Corp.: The future challenge will be to keep moving the attributes consumers demand forward as light truck tires keep getting bigger. A Chevy Tahoe LS in 2014 comes OE with size P275/55R20; in 2005, the Tahoe LS had P265/70R16. It is unrealistic to expect the Tahoe owners to want less mileage or traction out of their new vehicle because the tire size has changed. I think designing a 20-inch tire to please a customer that had a 16-inch tire in the past is the future. ■