NEW YORK — Despite a unit sales decline of 3.1 percent last year, light truck (LT) tires led a sluggish U.S. consumer tire market in 2017 vs. 2016, according to the latest data issued by analytics firm GfK Group.
Overall, sales of passenger, LT and 4x4/SUV tires fell 5.7 percent last year, GfK data show, with passenger and 4x4/SUV tires off 7.3 and 4 percent, respectively.
GfK bases its reporting on input from retailers representing nearly 35,000 points of sale nationwide.
By comparison, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) reported earlier that replacement market passenger tire shipments in 2017 were 0.9 percent ahead of 2016 at 209.3 million units, while replacement LT tire shipments fell 2 percent to 31.3 million units.
The 4x4/SUV segment tracked by GfK overlaps the passenger and LT segments as reported by the USTMA.
LT tires outperformed the other categories despite industry-leading price growth of 2 percent last year. The firm said LT tires are the most expensive of any category at $196 per unit, higher than the overall average ($135 per unit), and almost double the average cost of passenger tires ($109).