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Are tall, thin tires coming to your shop?

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Will tall, thin tires going be the next big trend in the tire industry? That’s what Modern Tire Dealer asked the five largest tire manufacturers in the world: Bridgestone Corp., Continental AG, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Groupe Michelin and Pirelli & Cie SpA.

Some were forthcoming with details and information; others, not so much.

There appears to be a great deal of secrecy surrounding the design of tall, thin tires. One thing is certain: There is a trend for better fuel economy in vehicles, and tires play a significant role in the equation. Less rubber on the road means better rolling resistance, less noise and less wasted energy.

Several OEMs have designed concept cars that feature tall, thin tires.

* The BMW i3 Concept Coupe, unveiled at the 2012 LA Auto Show in November, has tires size 155/60R20 up front and 175/55R20 in the rear.

* The Audi Urban Concept car has 125/60R21 tires in front and 145/50R21 in the rear.

*The Volkswagen XL1, a production vehicle that is available in Europe, has Michelin Energy tires size 115/80R15 on the front and size 145/55R16 on the rear.

As OEMs develop more electric vehicles and hybrids, tire makers continue to develop taller, thinner tires to go on them.

What did the tire manufacturers say about their plans for tall, thin tires? And where is the market heading? To find out, see The skinny on tall, thin tires online or in the August issue of MTD.

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