AKRON—Consumers in North America have more than 275 brands to consider when shopping for tires—and the list is growing. Of these brands:
A dozen are considered manufacturers' flag brands—Bridgestone, Goodyear or Michelin, for example;
35 are considered manufacturers' associate brands such as Dayton, Lee or Cavalier;
60 or more are considered the primary or secondary brands of offshore manufacturers—that is, tire makers with no manufacturing capacity in North America, including Hankook, Kumho or Vredestein; and
The rest—more than 160—are private brands, according to a Tire Business analysis of available market data.
If one assumes that the manufacturers' brands have on average 10 or more model ranges—Goodyear Aquatred, Eagle, or Wrangler lines, for example—the number of brand choices a consumer faces approaches 700.
Despite the wave of consolidation among tire manufacturers in recent years, the number of brands hasn't shrunk, and indeed has grown as new private brands come into being with regularity and the expanding North American market continues to attract new brands from offshore.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association puts the manufacturers' flag brand share of the replacement passenger tire market at 54 percent, vs. 25.5 percent for private brands and 20.5 percent for associate brands.
The RMA data, though, take into account only shipments by RMA members, so as many as 7 million imported tires are not considered in the breakdown.
In the light truck area, manufacturers' flag brands take 56.1 percent, vs. 24.6 percent for private brands and 19.3 for associate brands.
Comparative data for previous years are not available.