Smithers Rapra’s latest in-depth study – The Future of High-Performance Tires to 2022 – forecasts the high-performance (or premium) tires market will grow at 6.3% year-on-year through to 2022 reaching a market value of $74.7 billion, up from $54.9 billion in 2017.
About 56% of the total global high-performance (HP) market value is accounted for by light vehicles, and that is also where the growth is, and has been. However, in unit terms, light vehicles account for nearly four fifths of the volume and most of the historical and forecast growth. As the industry evolves, manufacturers are having to address new end user’s priorities, produce different tire formats, and embrace new technical solutions.
The high-performance tires market has traditionally been focused on speed ratings, but there now seems to be little room for further increase in these and the focus will shift to other properties. Some of these will still relate to high performance (grip, handling, ride comfort, etc.), but other properties now impacting the general tire market will also become important and have to be taken into consideration. These are mainly environment-related; and include fuel efficiency, sustainability of raw materials, longevity, and recycling.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are continuing to drive the HP tire trend. As new car original equipment (OE) fitments continue trending toward higher wheel diameters and lower aspect ratios, the number of HP tire sales as original equipment sizes will continue to grow. Part of what drives the tire trend at the OE level is the demand for greater precision vehicle performance. This is resulting in the greater demand for V and Z class tires – rated to 149 mph and higher –as greater precision is required to enhance a performance vehicle’s ability to accelerate, stop and manoeuvre.
The new HP driver is becoming the norm, on account of what the OEM put on their cars. This means, among other things, that the expectation of precise handling and stability of the past is now competing with an expectation of ride comfort, quietness and all-season capability.
Despite much progress over the past decade, and a sense that many of the large possible gains have already been made, there is still an impetus in the industry to continue with technological improvements, even if incrementally.
The major trends are proliferating sizes, shifts into higher-speed ratings, improved wet/dry grip, longer wear and improved tread life, greater comfort and less noise – and realising these at price points acceptable to OEM and replacement consumers. Advances in tire design, construction and materials – such as: better compounding, wider use of 3-D siping and asymmetrical designs for longer wear – will support this.
The Future of High-Performance Tires to 2022 is based on an in-depth combination of primary and secondary research. Primary research included interviews with key leadership, market and technical staff employed across the global value chain for high-performance tires. This research is supported and contextualized by an extensive literature analysis of published product launches, industrial scale-up and investments and combined with Smithers Rapra’s own market intelligence and critical analysis.
The Future of High-Performance Tires to 2022 is available for £4,500.
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Smithers Rapra is the global leader in rubber, plastics, polymer and composites testing, consulting and information products and events, with key focuses including the tyre, industrial, transportation, consumer and medical industries.