The latest GfK data based on its tyre retail sell-out sources – what it refers to as its panelmarket – shows that UHP tyre sizes, especially above 17″, continued to represent a growing market in 2019. The analyst compared UHP tyres, here defined as 17” and above, in the period from January 2018 to December 2018 with January 2019 to December 2019. The first column shows that 17” takes a share of the total tyre market of just over one-fifth (21 per cent). 17” has been a popular size for many years, benefitting from the transition of more compact cars onto higher rim sizes. However, growth in 17” dimensions has now plateaued, with this figure representing no change on the previous year’s data.
The observation that trends regarding tyre size and speed rating have been tracing an upward trajectory for some time is nothing new, but the clear focus of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers on higher than high performance segments in Europe has perhaps never been so pronounced. Chasing improved profit margins with increased technology is always attractive to those with the capability and the incongruously strong luxury car market has provided an additional reason for migrating business focus from V-rated and 17” tyres into WYZ and 18”-plus territory, according to Automotive market research company GfK.