Tire sales show growing desire for larger vehicles over sedans in U.S.

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According to the latest retail sales data from the NPD Group, larger tires are rising in popularity (17-inch+ rim diameter tires) and have gained nearly 12 unit share points over the last three years.

These larger tires now account for almost half of all passenger car/light truck units sold across the U.S.

“We’re seeing a greater number of bigger vehicles on the road today and in manufacturers’ new lineups. Sedan sales have slowed dramatically over the last few years, as SUVs/CUVs are growing in popularity. Larger rim diameter tires are performing well as a result of this shift,” said Nathan Shipley, automotive industry analyst at NPD.

Looking at the broader picture through NPD’s Retail Tire Tracking Service, U.S. replacement tire sales have grown by 3% over the past year. Unit sales have grown even faster, up 4.5%. Passenger car and light truck tires make up the largest segment of the market with unit sales in this segment up 4% in the U.S. year-over-year.

“The fundamentals of the automotive industry couldn’t be stronger. Miles driven annually is currently at its highest level; more drivers and vehicles are on the road than ever before; and the unemployment rate has been trending at historical lows, meaning consumers are driving to work. All of these things point to a very healthy automotive industry, which includes the tires business,” said Shipley.

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