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High and Ultra-High Performance Tire Market Share for 2015

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High and Ultra-High Performance Tire Market Share for 2015

Tracking high and ultra-high performance shipments is not as easy as it once was. Fifteen years ago, the definitions were clear: High performance referred to H-rated tires 70-series and under. UHP tires were anything V- and Z-rated. And UHP tires were a niche market, a sub-segment of the high performance category.

Since then, W (up to 168 mph) and Y (up to 186 mph) ratings have been introduced for tires on more exotic sports cars.

What do you do, however, when winter tires come with a W-rating? Remember when snow tires were Q-rated?

One domestic tire manufacturer doesn’t include all V-rated tires in its definition of a UHP tire, which also takes into account low-profile sizing and vehicle application.

For example, a 205/55R16 V is a UHP tire, but 205/60R16 V is not. Another manufacturer believes a V-rating is too low for a UHP tire “given the number of pedestrian cars that are using V-rated tires.”

If the definitions of high performance and UHP tires are changed too much, trending has to start over. So Modern Tire Dealer bases its numbers on the older definitions. However, we also try to make them realistic.

We take into account how the tire is being marketed — we don’t include winter tires — and the type of vehicles on which they are found (the latter will become more problematic as time goes on). UHP tires are often considered “summer” tires; although that isn’t a hard definition, it is a good guide.

MTD believes the high performance and UHP tire shipments were up again in 2015 vs. 2014. It is those numbers on which we base our market share numbers.

Every year, they represent a greater percentage of the overall market. In 2000, the number was only 10.8%; in 2015, it was 37.7%.

The UHP market in particular has experienced substantial growth (see graph).   ■

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