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A tonneau (US: /tʌˈnoʊ/ or UK: /ˈtɒnoʊ/) is an area of a car or truck open at the top. It can be for passengers or cargo.
A tonneau cover in current automotive terminology is a hard or soft cover that spans the back of a pickup truck to protect the load from weather elements, thieves or to improve aerodynamics. Tonneau covers come in many styles that fold, retract, or tilt open, and can be locked shut. Common materials used include steel, aluminium, canvas, PVC, fibreglass, and carbon fibre.
Tonneau covers are also used to cover and protect open areas of boats. Many of these covers are made of waterproofed canvas and are held in place by snaps.
The older, original tonneau covers were used to protect unoccupied passenger seats in convertibles and roadsters, and the cargo bed of a pickup truck or coupé utility. Hard tonneau covers open by a hinging or folding mechanism while segmented or soft covers open by rolling up or folding. Among them, hard folding covers are more popular to truck owners as they offer better protection, and waterproofness.
Truck and car tonneau covers keep items out of the sun and out of the sight of potential thieves.