The trucking industry is in the throes of great change with new trucks and shorter deliver areas.
As a result of the growth in e-commerce and the "Amazon effect" on shipping, logistics itself is changing.
Decentralized and regional distribution networks that locate inventory near customers and local, last-mile fulfillment centers are popping up like Starbucks, in order to shorten delivery times.
The end result is that instead of freight being hauled an average of 800 miles 20 years ago, the average length of a haul today is only 500 miles The industry's focus is on last-mile deliveries.
Last-mile deliveries (from the distribution center to the customer) have burgeoned and are now being made not only by Class 3-6 vans and medium-duty trucks but also by Class 1 and 2 vehicles; something you never used to see.
In addition, truck types are changing to operate more efficiently in the new environment. The new low cab-forward, cab-over trucks are a direct response to the demands of the growing last-mile market.
And this market continues to surge.
This change in vehicle usage is impacting the tire market. While these vehicles normally would run on light truck tires in 16-, 17.5- and 19.5-inch wheel diameters, standard LT tires will not survive in the commercial delivery environment. Not only are final-mile delivery trucks traveling shorter distances, but they are operating in more urban environments with more frequent starts and stops.
New commercial light truck tires must be able to handle the additional stresses and strains of heavier loads, withstand curbing with stronger and more durable sidewalls, defend against impacts and punctures, absorb a higher degree of scrubbing and chipping, provide more traction year-round in addition to wet braking in high-stress applications, have superior fuel economy and retreadability, and operate at higher speeds.
Oh, and don't forget, fleets require that they have better tread life, too.