What once was a category devoted by sports car enthusiasts, the high performance (HP) tire sector has evolved into a preferred fitment for passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, and crossover vehicles. With a growing global middle class, purchases of these popular vehicles are driving sales of HP tires up.
The HP tire sector has been the fastest growing part of the passenger car market over the last several years. It is expected to outpace growth of the general tire market for the next seven years, according to a new market study by Smithers. Global sales of HP tires were estimated at 198 million units in 2013, which accounts for 13.6% of the passenger car and light goods vehicle tire market. This is forecast to rise to more than 314 million units or 15.9% by 2020.
The original equipment (OE) vehicle market is the main influencer in consumers developing a preference for HP tires. Increasing fitments by leading auto makers are exposing consumers to the benefits of these tires and driving a growing replacement market for them.
Because of their origins as fitments for sports cars, HP tires are distinguished mostly by their higher speed ratings, larger diameters, and lower aspect ratios. But with the broadening of their appeal among mainstream drivers, HP tires now possess many of the attributes needed to satisfy typical consumers. Today’s HP tires for passenger cars are designed for high-speed driving and ride quality that complements the style of the vehicle. In a greater effort to influence drivers to spend the extra money for their performance products, tire makers are increasingly developing HP tires that are a hybrid of speed, performance, extended wear, and year-round drivability.
The four drivers for the HP tire market are covered in greater detail in this white paper: