The wheel and tire market has improved over the past year, according to a widely held consensus among professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. New offerings, technology and an improving economy bode well for sales in 2015, but there are also impediments that may deflate some of the optimism.
“Tire performance has definitely improved,” said Bob Ulrich, editor of Modern Tire Dealer magazine. “That applies not only to broad-market tires but also to growing niche market segments such as mud-terrain tires for light trucks. Tire development is evolutionary, not revolutionary, but 2014 was a breakout year in tire design and compounding.”
Part of that development has come from the federal government’s push for higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, Ulrich said, and fellow tire journalist David Zielasko, editor and vice president/publisher of Tire Business, concurred with that assessment.