Future of US HP Tyres
According to the US Tire and Rim Association the number of auto tyre sizes has jumped 120 per cent since 1991 to 249 different sizes. The association claims that 82 per cent of this growth has come in rim sizes of 17 inches or more and it believes the increase is due to the automotive industry’s passion for performance.
Statistics show that about 59 per cent of the increase run in rim diameters of 18 inches or more. However, the total number of tyre sizes actually decreased last year due to a sharp fall in 13 and 14 inch sizes. The number of 15 and 16 inch tyre sizes has also levelled out in that time.
The demand for high performance tyres with their wide, low profile stance is inspired by motorsports, says Warren Croyle, marketing manager for Dunlop tyres in North America. As the industry has increasingly fitted HP tyres as original equipment on everything from the sports coupe, to the family sedan, the effects have had a dramatic impact on the tyre industry and tyre buyer alike, explained the company representative.
As high performance tyres have become increasingly important to consumers so have they to manufacturers. “Dunlop sizing, in particular, enjoys an advantage as the industry trend continues toward lower profile applications,” said Mr Croyle. “We’re well-positioned now, and we plan to introduce even more low profile sizes this year and next. Using technology derived from Dunlop’s experience with low-profile race tyres, engineers are finding new ways to improve the handling capabilities of today’s high performance automotive fleet.”
The tyre manufacturer claims that growth among 17 and 18 inch wheels is slowing. It predicts that by 2008 18 and 20 inch tyre sales will amount to 6 million units; however, 22 and 24 inch sizes are expected to be the fastest growing sizes.