The narrative for about every market remains the same: High demand, low supply.
Imports of tires in the major consumer and commercial categories, for example, have bounced back since 2020 despite global supply chain issues.
Tire dealers in the last two years have had to balance finding what the customer wants and just finding a tire that fits their vehicle in their price range.
Many dealers have become better salespeople because of it. Those companies surveyed for this issue said customers have been accepting of price increases.
A handful of independent tire dealers told Tire Business reporters in the last year that for some segments they brought on brands they normally don't sell. Many of those dealers said it was usually for brands available to them but rarely ordered.
Dealers may not be surprised that there are more than 425 brands available in the North American market. More than 130 companies distribute those brands.
Tire Business does extensive research for our annual "Brands" issues, which is exclusive for our print and digital subscribers.
It starts with tracking down as many brands as we can through previous research and new reporting, and then we survey all of the brand marketers. This information is used to build directories of private brand marketers, import brand marketers, and flag and associate brand marketers. TB reporters then conduct interviews with brand marketers.
Of the 425-plus brands identified by Tire Business, around 20 are considered new or relaunched in the U.S. Dealers may have already started seeing names such as Amulet, Iris, Jinyu and Vizzoni.
Trimax Tire, a U.S. subsidiary of Maxon International, has taken on five brands made in China: Haida, Farroad, Joyroad, Kapsen and MileKing.
Director of Sales Chris Tolbert said supply chain problems and elevated tariffs on products from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam have put Chinese tire imports back in play, especially for value brands.
"Freight costs have escalated, price increases are sometimes monthly, consumers are looking for a value option," he said.
It's interesting, though, that a consumer looking for a tire usually isn't driven by brand. Nearly 70% of consumers usually replace tires with another brand, driven by price, supply, warranty or other factors.
One importer, Omni United Pte. Ltd., is hoping to add some glitz to its Radar line by collaborating with an Italian design house to build functional and aesthetically appealing products. A noble pursuit, for sure.
And it remains to be seen how Goodyear positions its newest brands, Cooper and Mastercraft among them, with its Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly lines in the aftermath of last year's acquisition of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
It's a brand new world. In more ways than one.