Vehicles, like cell phones, personal stereos and sunglasses, have become personal accessory items. Accordingly, a lot of wheel styles and brands have rolled into the market.
This industry's revenues totaled $793.2 million in 2003 and are projected to reach $1 billion by 2009, according to an analysis by Frost & Sullivan, a consulting firm.
Historically, a handful of North American-based companies manufactured and distributed wheels. Then lower-cost alternatives hit the scene, mainly from Asian countries.
The number of market participants and brands has grown 10-fold, says Frost & Sullivan. Brand image and awareness fell to an all-time low, making price the major competitive factor.
A few tumultuous years and intense competition have eliminated many insufficiently funded companies from the ranks.
The survivors must keep pace with constantly changing wheel styles as vehicle owners now view wheels as style accessories that frequently changed, says Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Mary-Beth Kellenberger.