Valued at $64.6 billion in 2021, global demand for fleet (light vehicle, truck and bus) tyres will grow year-on-year at a rate of 8.7% to $97.8 billion in 2026.
This data from the new Smithers study – The Future of Fleet Tires to 2026 – highlights the importance of fleet tyre contracts moving forward, as the tyre industry looks to recover from the radical drop in demand for passenger vehicle tyres in 2020. Fleet tire applications will also provide a vital forum for manufacturers to introduce innovative value-adding smart tyre concepts, and extend their profitability via complimentary fleet management software and service contracts.
The impact of COVID-19 was greatest in consumer tyres. In contrast haulage became an essential service, supplemented by a pool of new smaller urban delivery vehicles for the e-commerce segment. In 2021, total fleet tyre use will be 413 million units – up from 398.2 million in 2020. Recovering the volumes seen in 2019 will not happen before 2023, however.
Future growth will be concentrated in light commercial fleet tyres, as trucking and mass-transit represent mature markets. The former will account for 64.5% of incremental growth over the next 5 years, as total consumption worldwide is forecast to approach 634 million units in 2026.
In the immediate response to the pandemic, there was a hiatus of investment in new mobility formats. Smithers’ analysis finds that the business case for these remains strong, and some fleet operators have used the COVID disruption to revise their business strategy. The market for connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) transport in fleet operations is a major strategic growth topic. These will lay the foundation for the larger shifts in mobility that will define the evolution of transportation and tyres through 2040.
R&D priorities for tyres include meeting fuel-efficiency goals via lower rolling resistance models; especially for electric vehicles as charging infrastructure and range remain limited. Intelligent tyres will also be a key enabler of the new era of mobility. For fleet users these can offer immediate gains via full-time and fleet-wide optimised tire pressure. Smart tyres with sensors that communicate tyre pressure or replacement needs are easier to justify to fleets where the initial investment will be realised more quickly across the multiple vehicles via increased uptime and less maintenance.
As this happens, there will be deeper participation of vehicle OEMs – such as Ford, Daimler, Volvo and Tesla – in fleet services. The recent announcement of General Motors’ BrightDrop EV ecosystem concept highlights how business fleet operations and management can be transformed with direct implications for tyre design, management and replacement sales. In the longer term, this will foster a transition towards a tyres-as-a-service business model.
From a regional perspective, Europe is the largest fleet tyre market. It has large passenger car/light vehicle fleets, and will be the second fastest growing region through to 2026. Asia-Pacific, led by China, will lead the world in growth with robust fundamentals for its tyre market and a trend to expansion in fleet penetration and management services. North America is the third largest region; it will still see a compelling compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 8.3%, by volume, over the Smithers forecast period.
Published today, The Future of Fleet Tires to 2026 provides comprehensive data and qualitative analysis on this lucrative and fast-developing sector. Market data and forecasts by value and volume are provided for all fleet tyres by tire type across six world regions, and 14 leading national markets. This is combined with a specific focus on the new business opportunities that are emerging for tyre manufacturers and distributors to extend their service offerings.
This definitive business strategy guide is available to purchase now priced $6,500 (€5,250, £4,750).