Aluminum car rims constitute roughly 60% of the wheel market today. This is a huge shift from 1980 when 90% of all car wheels were made from steel. The reason aluminum has become so popular is their perceived advantages over steel wheels. They look nice, are relatively cheap, and light.
Aluminum car rims are increasingly found on cars right off the lot. Automakers put them onto their higher performance vehicles to signify that they are better than the rest, but they are increasingly being found on mid and entry level cars. They have higher manufacturing tolerances than steel making them smoother on the road because of fewer vibrations. All the pieces fit together accurately and snugly.
Aluminum car rims are more expensive than steel rims which are making a comeback because of the price. Many aluminum rims were purchased during the auto boom during the nineties, when the cost of aluminum was much cheaper compared to people’s salaries. Recent markets have driven the cost of aluminum so high that many manufacturers have discarded aluminum wheels in favor of cheaper and stronger steel.