Wheel Industry Trends of 2022
“You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” At least, that’s how the saying goes. However, as manufacturers look into improving every aspect of their vehicle designs, the wheels will be looked into like any other component. At Blackburn, we’re always looking to keep our customers up to speed on the latest trends and innovations in the wheel industry.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting and popular wheel industry trends for 2022.
Lightweight Wheels for Lightweight Vehicles
As gas prices continue to fluctuate, car manufacturers have been working tirelessly year after year to increase miles per gallon to appeal to budgeting consumers and improve their fuel efficiency rankings. One way these manufacturers target higher miles per gallon metrics is by lowering the overall weight of the vehicle.
Naturally, a heavier vehicle is going to need more power to move its larger weight. That’s why your large truck seems to need more frequent visits to the gas pump. There are other ways that automakers look to adjust engine efficiency to increase that MPG, but lowering weight where possible is definitely a leading strategy.
In order to deliver a lighter wheel, you’ll need to use lighter materials. Often, carmakers are looking toward metals like aluminum that can deliver that low weight. With an aluminum alloy wheel, you can see a noticeable uptick in acceleration as well as those gas savings.
So, as car owners get more and more fed up with rising gas prices, expect the manufacturers to look for more ways to cut weight from the wheels to bump up that fuel efficiency.
More Openings Stealing the Spotlight
While the previous trend of lighter wheels was primarily a functional change, this one is a bit more cosmetic. More and more, we’ve been seeing manufacturers pump out wheels with less and less material allowing for showcasing things like brake calipers.
Some people are very proud of their bright red brake calipers and want them to be displayed properly. So, automakers are looking for ways to bring that exposure to the brakes beyond the wheels.
While the style of a wheel can seem like a trivial piece of a car, many prospective car purchasers have a specific look and feel that they’re wanting with their wheels. Whether that’s a darker finish or more openings to highlight the brake calipers, the look of your wheels can be a critical factor in the buying decision.
So, if you’re trying to stick with the trends, look for a wheel with more openings, more exposure, and let those brake calipers really shine.
Bigger is Better?
While this may feel like a complete contradiction to the first trend of lighter wheels, it’s not. Trust us.
With users seeking to showcase more of the rim and less of the tire, rim sizes have grown as years have passed. While 14 or 15-inch rims were very common years ago, they seem to be almost obsolete in newer models. Even smaller sedans are catching up to this trend and jacking up the wheel size.
The main draw of larger wheels is the aggressive stance and major presence that make a statement on the road. However, it is not only a cosmetic improvement. With a larger wheel, you are allowing for more wheel-to-ground contact improving your handling around turns and corners.
As we said earlier, this may seem like a direct contradiction to making the wheels lighter. However, with improved aluminum and steel alloys, carmakers are able to deliver larger wheels at lower weights. It also helps that people are seeking out wheels with more or larger openings. More open space means obviously less material which supports making lighter wheels while still increasing the overall size of the wheel.
Dark Finishes Continue to Excite
While dark rims are not a new revelation, their expansion into seemingly every automotive category is intriguing to see. Though dark rims were originally found on luxury or higher-profile vehicles, you can find everything from minivans to pickup trucks adopting that dark look.
We have seen a consistent shift from chrome and silver finishes to more of the charcoal or black look that can really make a statement. There are still obviously some vehicle categories that are standing firm in their chrome finishes like mid-sized SUVs or half-ton trucks.
While there are many adjectives used to describe vehicles with dark rims, we believe that it gives vehicles a more aggressive and sporty look. You can completely transform the look of your car by going from something standard like chrome to that clean dark rim. Those with dark vehicles like the ability to get that consistent dark look across the whole vehicle. Others with light-colored cars like the bold pop of that dark finish.
Trends Will Keep Evolving
These are just a few of the trends that the wheel industry has seen over the years and especially in 2022. While some people only see wheels as your means of transportation, these trends showcase how certain styles and models are certainly driving the industry.
If you’re interested in making the shift to a wheel with dark finishes or lightweight materials, we’ve got you covered at Blackburn OEM Wheel Solutions. Sign up for a free account to look at our inventory and see how we can get you on the road with the look and feel you’ve been dreaming about.
We also offer wholesale OEM wheels if you’re looking to grow your business by stocking up on quality wheels at low prices with quick shipping.