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The UHP Tire Market Is Changing in Big Ways: Here's What You Need to Know

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UHP Toyo

Toyo’s Proxes Sport A/S comes in 89 SKUs and is available in four speed ratings:V,W,Y and (Y).

It used to be that flashy sports cars ruled the ultra-high performance (UHP) tire market.

Those cars certainly still hold a firm grip in the world of UHP tires, but the market has also expanded just as the car parc has changed.

Over the years, original equipment vehicle manufacturers have developed and tuned CUVs and SUVs with more performance-focused features and tire- makers have followed suit with more complex tires.

The result is a healthy UHP tire market.

Plenty of tiremakers we spoke with reported significant increases — double-digit increases, in some cases — in their UHP tire sales last year.

It’s as important as ever for tire dealers to tune into the UHP tire market. We asked the tire manufacturers in the space to weigh in on the latest trends, but also to give you advice on what you need to pay attention to for the future.

Is the UHP tire market still growing? How is the popularity of CUVs, SUVs and pickup trucks affecting the UHP tire market? 

Abhishek Bisht, assistant vice president, Americas, Apollo Vredestein Tires: With the rise in demand for CUV and SUV cars, we’re seeing continued growth in demand for tires that fit these vehicles, as well. Vredestein has stayed vigilant in shifting with the market to ensure we’re able to provide our dealer partners with the UHP products consumers are looking for.

UHP Vredestein

The Vredestein Hypertrac All-Season UHP tire was specifically designed for the North American market.

Daniel Kelly, product manager for the U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC: We anticipate the UHP tire market to remain relatively flat in 2021. Despite the shrinking popularity of sedans, and by extension sports sedans, we are seeing an uptick in sporty CUVs and SUVs in the category, replacing some of the reduced UHP demand. So, while we do expect the UHP market to hold largely steady in terms of volume, we also see tire size lineups beginning to incorporate more CUV and SUV sizes. 

Björn Gläser, product manager for performance tires, Continental Tire the Americas LLC: The UHP summer market has been steady for quite a few years now. We do not expect this to change significantly over the next couple of years. The UHP all-season market keeps growing slightly and we would expect this trend to continue the next two-to-four years, below 5% growth.

Joseph Kao, operations manager. Federal Tire North America LLC: The UHP market is taking part of the touring segment and the spirit of chasing after the speed is still there. CUV and SUV is a fast growing segment, especially CUVs. Segmentations will be more clear and each application will also be precisely defined. The sport package is still a good sales pitch, no matter how the segments break down.

UHP Federal

The 595RS-Pro from Federal is a certified street tire with stability and steering accuracy. 

David Shelton, director of industry relations, Giti Tire (USA) Ltd.: If we answer on speed rating, the answer is yes, the market is growing. If it’s defined by category or the vehicle application, there are some that have risen and fallen. There are some that are still on the rise.

If Z speed-rated tires were just under 1% of the replacement market, then V would be closer to 16%. If we define the whole thing — V, W, Y and (Y) — you’re looking at over 25% of the market.

Bob Toth, director of industry relations, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.: From 2016 to 2019, the ultra-performance segment grew 2%, in total. From 2020 to 2025, it’s forecasted to grow at nearly 1.2 times the industry growth rate.

As the CUV/SUV market continues to grow with new models, variants of existing models, more options and more trim levels, we are finding that the mix of vehicle personalities (luxury, performance, ultra-performance, utility, etc.) remains similar to the automobile segment. In fact, we already see many top level CUV and SUV trim levels being fitted with high-end, ultra-high performance tires.

Brandon Stotsenburg, vice president of automotive, American Kenda Rubber Co. Ltd.: The UHP market continues to grow within the two primary segments where we provide products: summer UHP and all-season UHP. Our year-over-year growth is above 32%, with significant recognition attributed to our proposition,focusing on premium performance at a value price.

The CUV, SUV and light truck seg- ments continue to grow as an overall percentage of new vehicle sales. Kenda has intentionally targeted the majority of these fitments with product options, offering V-rated tires There are select, smaller volume OE vehicle fitments, which are now offered with W-rated, UHP A/S tires.

Additionally, there is a growing seg- ment of consumers who want to upgrade their wheel packages and add a UHP tire for these vehicles, primarily for aesthetics. Kenda is evaluating these trends with the intention to provide products which will meet the application and vehicle use.

Chris Han, marketing manager, Kumho Tire USA Inc.: We are still seeing growth in the UHP market. The percentage year- over-year increase is very slight, but it is still significant when you take into con- sideration that the overall passenger tire market is down roughly 14% and light truck is down about 4.3%. Growth in the segment is also being fueled by increasing UHP offerings for light trucks, SUVs and especially CUVs, due to OEMs shifting over to more performance-oriented vehicles.

UHP Kumho

Most of Kumho’s UHP tire lineup is dedicated to sedans, but the company plans to shift and expand size offerings for CUVs and SUVs, like it did with the Crugen HP71. 

Lisa Rouby, UHP marketing manager, Michelin North America Inc.: Michelin’s UHP tire sales — defined by tires with a Z speed rating — have been growing, especially in the second half of 2020. We think there will be steady UHP growth in 2021 with the continuing expansion of SUVs and CUVs.

Jay Lee, product planning director, Nexen Tire America Inc.: The UHP segment is still seeing growth, even with trends continuing to move towards CUVs and SUVs. While the performance vehicle market might be reducing in terms of vehicle launches, we continue to see the volume differences offset by an increase in performance CUVs and SUVs. Some CUV platforms now demand V- or W- rated products, showcasing the trend toward UHP.

With an increase in OE speed rating demands, as well, all-season UHPs are driving growth in this market. We are seeing UHP tire sales showing significant growth year over year. 

Steve Bourassa, North America director of products, Nokian Tyres Inc.: At Nokian, we were pleased to see our UHP sales grow in 2020, despite the challenges the tire industry faced. Our SUV product enjoyed particularly strong growth last year after we invested in new sizes.

Although consumer purchases are trending higher for CUVs and SUVs, there is always a need for performance and power. In recent years, there are many impressive vehicles that are categorized in CUV/SUV, but are equipped with high-output engines. These vehicles are satisfying consumer needs for performance, while providing the space and luxury feel that comes with a vehicle of this size.

Erdem Halulu, vice president of sales, Pirelli Tire North America Inc.: We are still studying the effects of COVID-19 on the market, but from what we see from the tire market overall, including UHP, it has rebounded quite well. Of course, CUV/SUV/pickup UHP tires are typically larger than coupes and sedans, and we see these sizes growing in the market.

UHP Pirelli

Pirelli has made a concentrated effort to shift its UHP tire lineup toward CUVs and SUVs in recent years. 

Nick Gutierrez, sales director, Sentury Tire USA: We are still seeing healthy growth in the UHP segment. We attribute most of this growth to SUVs and CUVs, with nearly 90 million on the road today compared to sedans at 54 million. Higher speed ratings and plus sizes for SUVs and CUVs are in demand. Surprisingly, we are noticing a comeback of the ‘90s-style sport truck trend, also.

Tsuyoshi Johnson, product planning manager for Falken passenger tires, Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.: According to USTMA data, UHP sales volume in the U.S. has mostly been in a holding pattern for the past five years. The shift from coupes and sedans to CUVs, SUVs and pickup trucks has definitely had an impact on the touring tire segment, but it hasn’t seemed to drastically affect the UHP segment.

What has changed, though, in regard to the UHP tire market is the develop- ment of a new, high-performance CUV segment. This has confirmed to us that UHP-specific consumers will always seek out high performance vehicles, whether that’s a coupe, sedan or CUV.

Kevin Arima, senior product manager, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.: In the past 10 years, the UHP segment has seen some increases, but has leveled off as of late. But as more and more vehicles are coming equipped with standard UHP tires from the factory, we anticipate the replace- ment market will remain healthy and see some shift toward sporty light truck tires. Popular CUVs and SUVS are coming standard with larger rim diameters, lower aspect ratios and higher speed ratings, so we have been expanding our UHP lineup with light truck sizes.

In the near future, as more electric vehicles (EVs) become available, the UHP market should also rise. The performance and power of a lot of the new EVs coming to market will require the use of a UHP tire.

Bob Abram, senior manager of product planning, Yokohama Tire Corp.: Putting aside the 2020 COVID-related numbers, UHP overall is still growing, powered largely by standard all-season UHP, but the curve is leveling out from the dramatic growth that started more than a decade ago. While W/Y/Z-rated tires are up on CUV in total, that growth doesn’t offset the decline in summer UHP. Plus, UHP on CUV total units are less than half the growth of standard UHP all-season since 2014.

UHP Yokohama

Yokohama says some drivers buy prestige vehicles because of the brand and would be open to all-season tire alternatives with longer warranties. 

How much of your UHP tire lineup is dedicated to sedans and how much of it serves CUVs,SUVs and pickup trucks? How will that change in the next five years?

Kelly, Bridgestone: The Bridgestone UHP tire lineup focuses on covering the popular sporty fitments available in the market. Up until recently, the UHP market has largely consisted of sports cars and sports sedans. With the growth in sporty CUVs, SUV, and light trucks, tire size lineups will begin to shift in that direction. This year, Bridgestone will launch its new flagship summer tire, the Bridgestone Potenza Sport, and will include many of the popular sizes for traditional sports cars/sedans, in addition to multiple sizes aimed at higher-end sports CUVs and SUVs. This trend of developing UHP tires with sizes aimed at sporty CUV, SUV and light truck fitments will continue in future Bridgestone products.

Gläser, Continental: Continental and General’s UHP tire lineup is dedicated to offering the best suitable tire fitments for all relevant sedans, CUVs, SUVs and pickups in the market.

While sedans make up the majority of UHP fitments, the CUV and SUV segment already demands a significant share of sizes and a growing share of UHP volume. We expect this to keep growing. This is especially true for UHP all-season, as we see a trend towards higher-end wheels with lower aspect ratios on SUVs and CUVs demanding a UHP tire.

Over time, this will increase the “unexpected” and “non-enthusiast” UHP tire purchases, so it’s becoming more and more important for dealer- ships to be well-informed on how to best cater to that customer. The UHP summer segment is largely dominated by sedans and sports cars, and this trend is not expected to change significantly, especially in the aftermarket business. The pickup truck UHP segment is very small and shrinking. 

Kao, Federal: We used to define UHP for larger-inch diameters or higher horsepower. It seems this trend never changed. Yet each Federal Tire product segment we have is infused with our UHP DNA. The market nowadays would like to have choices.

UHP Giti

The GT Radial Champiro SX2 RS is a UHP tire designed for enthusiasts who want to spend a day at the track. “It’s mild-mannered, with a wild streak,” said Giti’s David Shelton 

Shelton, Giti: With pickups, there are no new OEs in the W or Y speed ratings. That category will fall, except for the aftermarket. Even though the sedan market is theoretically going down, I don’t think it’s dying in the luxury area as much as it is in the lower-priced areas. Mid-priced sedans are going to CUVs.

With SUVs, the UHP market is still there, but probably over time it will go static or decline. CUVs will continue to increase. If it’s an OE coming from Europe, it will have a higher speed rating, and for our dealers, we don’t want to lower that speed rating. Why? Because they’re jeopardizing meeting the expectations of the consumer.

Toth, Goodyear: Most CUVs and SUVs come factory-equipped with passenger type radial tires. The specific tire type fitted to these OE vehicles relates to the trim level. There is no unique industry design standard specific to tires fitted on CUV-type vehicles versus automobiles and our product lines include sizes for both. Some sizes fit both automobiles and CUVs, which makes it difficult to map replacement tire sales to vehicle fitments. As car manufacturers shift to make more light trucks, SUVs and CUVs, which have higher ground clearance and offer more room to carry load, Goodyear adapts our product portfolio to satisfy these changing needs (and) continues to focus on the fast growing 17-inch-plus wheel diameter segment.

Stotsenburg, Kenda: Kenda will continue to add sizes and potentially new products to match the needs of the North American vehicle parc and demand from Kenda channel partners. Most importantly, we will address these needs with targeted premium performance at a value price.

Han, Kumho: The majority of our UHP offering is dedicated to sedans and sportier passenger vehicles, with about 10% of the lineup being geared towards the light truck, SUV and CUV market. We expect the gap to close within the next five years, but it will still lean towards the traditional passenger car category. Kumho recently added higher-inch UHP sizes in our Crugen HP71 CUV/SUV lineup to align with this trend.

Rouby, Michelin: We develop new sizes based on anticipated growth in the CUV/ SUV category. Our newest UHP tire, the Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4, includes sizes for today’s popular, high- performance SUVs and CUVs.

UHP Michelin

About a third of the sizes in Michelin’s Pilot Sport All-Season 4 UHP tire line are dedicated to larger rim diameters for the SUV and CUV market. 

Lee, Nexen: Our UHP tire lineup dedicated to sedans (includes) the N’Fera SU1 — a UHP summer tire — and the N’Fera AU7 UHP all-season tire. Our UHP tire lineup dedicated to CUVs, SUVs and pickup trucks (includes) the Roadian HP and the Roadian GTX, with some UHP sizes.

Bourassa, Nokian: We offer sedan and SUV versions of the Nokian zLine A/S, our exclusive UHP all-season product. We currently offer more passenger sizes than SUV sizes, since more are required to cover the passenger UHP market. But we foresee size growth as being more likely in the SUV segment.

Halulu, Pirelli: Pirelli’s UHP tire lineup has considerably shifted towards CUVs and SUVs in recent years, including a UHP line specifically for those vehicles: the Scorpion Zero All Season Plus. We also have many new P Zero UHP SUV fitments.

We expect this trend to continue as improved lightweight materials and technologies make performance CUVs/ SUVs increasingly popular. Consum- ers’ expectations in terms of handling and acceleration continue to increase for CUVs/SUVs, especially as OEMs release multiple performance trim levels to capitalize on consumer demand.

Gutierrez, Sentury: For our Delinte and Landsail brands, we offer equal amounts of UHP products for CUVs and SUVs and high performance for sedans. We will be adding sizes to all of our UHP tires in the coming years.

UHP Sentury

In both of its Delinte and Landsail brands, Sentury says it offers an equal mix of products for CUV/SUV fitments and sedans and will be adding sizes to its lineup. 

Johnson, Sumitomo: Falken currently carries two competition UHP product lines, the Azenis RT660 and Azenis RT615K+, that are dedicated to traditional cars. Our other UHP summer line, the Azenis FK510, supports coupe/sedan and CUV/SUV fitments. Moving forward, we’ll continue to develop products that support both traditional sports cars, as well as high- performance CUVs and SUVs. We’ve been moving away from “sport truck” fitments, (as) sales have continued to shift towards “lifted truck” fitments, with A/T, R/T, and M/T products.

Abram, Yokohama: Sport sedan use of UHP is down as many of the luxury marques have an H- or V-rated all-season touring option where they used to exclu- sively fit UHP. But the bulk of the UHP market still thrives on these sport sedan fitments and sizes.

That’s not to say that we don’t recognize the importance of the growing CUV/SUV UHP presence. Yokohama has worked to secure high-profile UHP OE approvals with Porsche, Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW M Series CUVs with our flagship Advan Sport summer tire.

I don’t expect drastic changes in UHP share between passenger and CUV segments in the near future, but CUV will continue to trend up sharply.

How is developing UHP tires for CUVs, SUVs and pickup trucks different than developing those tires for sedans?

Bisht, Apollo: While CUVs and SUVs may not push the limits to the same degree as higher-performance sports cars, we’re seeing more power coming from these vehicles than in the past. The main difference is ensuring we’re developing a tire at the UHP level that can also withstand the additional weight of these vehicles, while still delivering a sporty, yet comfortable, ride. This requires rigorous testing to guarantee the strength and performance of the tire live up to (our) expectations.

UHP Bridgestone

Bridgestone will launch a new flagship summer tire, the Bridgestone Potenza Sport, in 2021.

Kelly, Bridgestone: As tires scale up to larger CUV/SUV/light truck sizes, tire design and development is focused on supporting increased vehicle weight and greater suspension travel required with these vehicles. With that said, in the same way that there is no distinct size cutoff where sports sedan tires end and CUV sizes begin, there is no distinct difference in the overall “formula” for developing a tire. We strive to design every UHP tire to have confident wet, dry, and in the case of all-season tires, snow handling performance.

Gläser, Continental: The majority of requirements for both are similar. UHP SUVs and CUVs are focused on on-road driving, equal to sedan applications. The main difference in design is the tire’s need to withstand the typically higher loads of CUVs and SUVs, also considering a higher center of gravity. This naturally leads to accelerated tread wear, which our tire design has to account for. Continental takes this into account to ensure adequate tread life for CUVs and SUVs.

Kao, Federal: Stronger tire construction and lighter weight are the way to go. Compounding plays an important part.

Toth, Goodyear: Whether they’re fitted on a sedan, sports car, crossover, SUV or pickup, these tires leverage our UHP compounding and construction technologies toolbox, while also factoring in the tire size, load requirements and intended application.

UHP Goodyear

The Eagle Exhilarate, Goodyear’s all- season UHP tire, is available in 36 sizes in W and Y speed ratings. 

Stotsenburg, Kenda: There are different issues based on the vehicle platforms and designed OE performance characteristics. Kenda defines CUVs as vehicles built on automotive platforms. The CUV will potentially have different handling needs due to height, weight and weight distribution. Most CUV vehicle owners expect to have similar wear, ride and noise levels (as) comparable sedans. Kenda designs its products with those needs in mind.

For SUVs and light trucks, the retailer should understand there are growing replacement options for these applications, which offer UHP aesthetics with limited upgrades in UHP performance, such as sizing for wheel upgrades and UHP tread designs. The fitments will be p-metric (or metric), often with increased speed ratings. Most often, the consumer is interested in the “look,” including wheel upgrades, rather than the performance characteristics of a true UHP tire. Proper design should address the vehicle applica- tion performance characteristics to assure aesthetic features do not compromise the performance needs for the consumer.

Han, Kumho: When developing UHP products for larger vehicles, we have to take into consideration that these are heavier vehicles on a different platform. With the higher-inch fitments and lower aspect ratios, durability and safety are areas where we place high concentration, along with the basic performance attributes around UHP products.

Rouby, Michelin: Larger vehicles require higher load ratings and stronger sidewalls. Aesthetics are also important because the larger sidewalls are more noticeable and higher clearance makes the tread pattern more visible than on a smaller sedan.

Aaron Neumann, product development manager, Nexen: The main things we consider when developing UHP tires for SUVs and trucks are the different service duties. First of all, the load on the tire is higher, so we use different materials and compounds to handle the increased load, both for robustness and performance.

In terms of tread compounds, we have to consider the possibility of more severe use, even in the UHP segment. The tread needs to wear better under high torque conditions and resist cutting and chipping in occasional off-road environments, so we use different ratios of polymers and fillers in the tread compound.

Natural rubber has excellent cut and chip resistance, so you will find a higher percentage of it in many truck tires, even in the UHP segment. In terms of grip expectations, UHP passenger car tires have higher requirements due to their lighter weight and two-wheel-drive drivetrains.

UHP Nexen

The Roadian GTX from Nexen has earned OE fitments on four CUVs for model year 2021. 

Bourassa, Nokian: Vehicle weight and taller ride height put different demands on the design of the tire itself. Weight has forced vehicle OEMs to be creative with OE tire size fitments, which are typically around 20 inches or 21 inches. Unlike their sedan counterparts, these tires have more sidewall, which inherently gives them more flex. Therefore, UHP tires for SUVs will result in better handling properties for drivers who are looking for more sporty handling properties.

One key difference in our sedan and SUV UHP products is the inclusion of Aramid Sidewall technology in the Nokian zLine A/S SUV. Puncture-resistant Aramid fibers reinforce SUV tire sidewalls to protect them from road hazards.

Halulu, Pirelli: Tires for CUVs, SUVs and pickups all bring unique challenges, making the Pirelli tailor-made tire development approach so important. UHP versions of these vehicles require high lateral and longitudinal grip, while needing tires which are sized appropriately to support heavier loading compared to a sedan. As air suspension becomes more common and wheel sizes increase, the focus turns towards road noise, rolling resistance and tire wear, all of which need to be balanced with the sporty characteristics desired of such UHP vehicles.

Gutierrez, Sentury: Sentury has always purposely overbuilt our products for safety. Our tread patterns are the same for light trucks and sedans, but the load ratings are segment-specific.

Anthony Lee, technical services manager, Toyo: CUVs are similar to sedans as they are usually unibody-type vehicles. The performance of the actual target vehicles will determine how the tire is developed. One of the main characteristics to account for in a CUV is the higher overall diameter of the tire and higher center gravity of the vehicle. SUVs are typically similar to pickup trucks as they are usually body-on-frame-constructed vehicles and have similar vehicle dynamic characteristics.

What’s the most important trend for tire dealers to watch when it comes to UHP tires?

Kelly, Bridgestone: With summer UHP tires, we anticipate that manufacturers will continue to develop tires focused on better wet handling and wear life. Today, most of the major tire manufacturers offer UHP summer tires that perform at a high level, but improved wet and wear performance can set a tire apart from the competition. With UHP all-season tires, we believe winter/snow performance continues to be a major differentiator as the growing popularity of all-weather touring tires has shifted customers’ expectations on tire performance in winter weather.

UHP Continental

The newest all-season UHP tire from Continental, the ExtremeContact DWS06Plus, is available in 100 sizes. 

Gläser, Continental: There is a growing interest of “non-enthusiast” UHP tire buyers, due to the trend towards larger rim sizes with low-aspect ratio UHP tires. Catering to this customer includes providing additional service and expertise to become a trusted partner. (Explain tire mileage warranties for UHP tires, etc.)

Kao, Federal: They will have more SKUs in different product segments.

Shelton, Giti: One trend that will continue is the consumer doesn’t know what they want or need. The Toyota Camry this year has seven or eight trim packages, but there are only three or four tire sizes and speed ratings. But with all the electronics, we’re getting ultra-high performance without having to have the same speed ratings we had before.

Dealers need to manage the surprise from their customers when they realize what came with their car. Don’t reduce that expectation. Do the right thing. Interview them. That’s not new.

Toth, Goodyear: It’s important to con- sider the trend of increased complex- ity. Examples of this include larger rim diameters (17 inches and above), size proliferation, increased performance requirements, higher speed ratings, more complex tire constructions and vehicle trim levels.

UHP Kenda

Kenda’s Vezda UHP A/S tire performs in wet conditions and light snow for a majority of applications. 

Stotsenburg, Kenda: Many CUVs are continuing to evolve and the trend is for more handling characteristics which require, at minimum, V-rated grand tour- ing tires. Some premium CUVs do require W-rated UHP tires with suspension systems to maximize handling. Dealers should be aware of this continuing trend and educate customers to find the best tire to meet their driving needs.

One of the traditional shortfalls of UHP tires has been a tendency (that) noise levels become increasingly unacceptable as the tire wears (and) consumers will prematurely remove tires due to this noise. Manufacturers are able to offer tires (with) premium performance and better noise levels. Educating the consumer about those benefits will provide additional value and allow more margin.

Han, Kumho: Tire dealers should continue to expect increased size offerings in the UHP segment — not only for CUVs and SUVs, but also the continued shift of everyday, basic passenger sedan fit- ments, as OEMs turn to UHPs over the traditional touring tire.

Rouby, Michelin: Dealers should have their stores set up to handle larger tires, such as 22-inch and 23-inch rim diameters. It’s also important to look at current OE trends and know that the tires on today’s most popular vehicles will be the tires consumers are coming to you to replace in a few years. Many consumers who purchased a new vehicle that came with UHP tires may have sticker shock when it’s time for a new set of tires. A dealer can help consumers understand the performance that UHP tires bring to their vehicle. High-performance vehicles need UHP tires to perform as intended.

Lee, Nexen: Dealers must stay current on vehicle trends and the most popular OE sizes in order to keep up. UHP tires are best-suited for drivers who most value responsive handling and grip — both wet and dry. These customers will prioritize performance over touring tire attributes, such as ride comfort and long wear life.

UHP Nokian

Nokian’s zLine AS is the tiremaker’s exclusive UHP all-season product.

Bourassa, Nokian: We’ve observed that sustainability is as important to drivers as it’s ever been. It’s also a key differentiator for our UHP products. We recommend the zLine A/S for drivers who value low rolling resistance, which increases fuel mileage and lowers emissions. Consumers who care about eco-friendly, efficient driving also like the fact that we make our UHP tires at factories that are among industry leaders in sustainability.

Halulu, Pirelli: One of the most important trends to monitor closely in the UHP segment is the increasing complexity of tire sizes. Especially moving up for higher rim diameters with new OE fitments, it is definitely vital to keep up with the right stock mix to capture consumer demands. Another important trend is the growth of electric vehicles, with many new performance electric vehicle models scheduled to enter the market.

Gutierrez, Sentury: For the next few years, we foresee growth in the high performance SUV and CUV segments, including electric vehicles and consumers dressing these vehicles up with wheels and UHP tires. 

Johnson, Sumitomo: Depending on the category of UHP tire, it may be important to educate the consumer about handling and storing tires in extremely cold conditions. Also, with the performance CUV segment continuing to gain popularity, it’s important to communicate the significance of regular tire rotation. Crossovers often place more stress on tires which can cause more rapid wear than you’ll typically see with tires on coupes and sedans.

UHP Sumitomo Falken

The Falken Azenis RT660 is one of two competition UHP tires dedicated to coupes and sedans. 

Lee, Toyo: One trend to watch is the all-weather category. High performance CUVs and SUVs are expected to perform in inclement weather and having appro- priate tires is key. EVs are also on the rise and this will shift more demand to UHP tires, due to the high performance requirements of these vehicles.

Abram, Yokohama: The key to success in the UHP market is to stay on top of sizes and know your customer. Many dealers make the mistake of thinking that because UHP is a small percentage of the business that it is relatively unimportant. I look at it from a different perspective. Consumers with high-performance vehicles are more likely to be engaged drivers and care specifically about driving dynamics and grip. They are your opportunity to shine as a tire seller and put them in high-quality products that meet their needs.

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