Light Truck Tires: Commercial Success

tiresAre you taking advantage of the light truck tire market?

While you may sell to owners of both commercial light truck and recreational light truck vehicles, let’s put the spotlight on the former, for a moment. As the economy grows, so does the number of commercial light trucks on the road. Commercial light trucks are used by wholesale distribu­tors, retailers, catering companies, con­tractors, electricians, plumbers, appli­ance technicians… and the list goes on and on.

Many Canadian businesses are very de­pendant on commercial light trucks, and naturally, they need tires that work just as hard as their vehicles do. So how can you take advantage of these opportunities?


Cargo vans

For starters, don’t forget the cargo vans. This is a growing segment of the commer­cial light truck market. Cargo vans are be­coming more common in today’s market. The cargo van is attractive to business as it keeps goods secure and dry, has a longer load floor and can carry a higher cubic volume of cargo.

There is a growing choice of large cargo vans available from Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. Ram will have a new large cargo van available for 2014. In addition, there are small cargo vans from Ford, Nissan and Ram with more to come. Pay attention to this segment.

Here’s more good news. Based on their business use, most commercial light trucks (including cargo vans) do higher mileage than the average passenger car. This provides great opportunities for you to make tire sales. In addition, the average cost of most commercial light truck tires is higher than the average cost of passenger car tires. This will help you grow the dollar value of your sales and profits.


Less SKU proliferation

You’ll also be glad to know that stock­ing tires shouldn’t be an issue. While the number of commercial light truck tire sizes and SKUs has grown in the past 10 years, the growth has not been as significant as the growth in passenger car tire sizes and SKUs. For example, on large cargo vans, LT225/75R16 LRE and LT245/75R16 LRE are the dominant sizes. On pick-up trucks there is a wider variety of sizes, but a few sizes also cover the majority of demand.

Along with the relatively low number of sizes required to service the market, de­mand is covered by highway all-season or all-terrain treads (demand varies by market) and there is little variety in speed ratings. As a result, you can cover a major share of the market with rela­tively few SKUs – you do not require a huge inventory to service the commercial light truck market.


Winter tire sales

Many commercial light trucks are on the road very early in the morning – the coldest time of the day and when many roads have not been plowed or salted. Also, they have to accomplish deliveries in heavy snow and freezing rain to main­tain the flow of business. As a result, they are prime candidates for winter tires. Actually, as they are a business tool, winter tires can be a health and safety issue too.

So how can you optimize sales of light truck tires? Research your market and seek out the commercial light truck customer. Speak with your wholesale distributor and add key commercial light truck sizes to your product screen. And remember, commercial light truck tires can be your ticket to a higher level of success.


Peter-James Gregory is President of Atlas Tire Wholesale Inc.

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