Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC (BATO) officially launched four new tires last week at a ride-and-drive event in Las Vegas. The tires were first announced at BATO’s 2012 Consumer Dealer Meeting Oct. 17-18.
The tires are the Potenza RE97 AS, the Dueler H/P Sport AS, the Blizzak LM-32 and the Potenza RE-11 A.
The Potenza RE97AS has been available since March 1 and comes in 23 sizes in 16- to 19-inch rim diameters in V and W ratings. It replaces the Potenza G019 and features BATO’s Eco-Product designation, which means it has improved rolling resistance, reduced weight and is made with eco-conscious materials and processes.
Mark Johnson, manager product education at BATO, told attendees about the Dueler H/P Sport AS and how it was designed to meet the demand of SUVs evolving into CUVs. It comes in 11 sizes in 17- to 20-inch rim diameters in H, V and W ratings. It also has the Eco-Product designation. It is available as of today, April 1.
Johnson also talked about the Blizzak LM-32, which will be available in July in 33 sizes from 16- to 20-inch rim diameters in H, V and W ratings.
Finally, the Potenza RE-11 A, which has been available since March 1, is an ultra-high performance tire that comes in 10 V- and W-rated, 40- to 50-series sizes ranging from 15 to 17 inches
Jamie McNutt, manager consumer tire development at BATO’s Americas Technology Center, told attendees about a wear energy machine BATO has designed for use in compound development. She also talked about the company’s work on the “row materials” guayule and Russian dandelions, which they hope to make into rubber. She is designing a tire that will use lightweight steel cords that will be made with 100% sustainable materials, and it should be available by 2020.
McNutt also covered BATO’s new tire color printing technology where they can print anything on tire sidewalls. She also discussed BATO’s Environmentally Conscious Narrow Tire (ECNA) fitment for the BMW 13 electric vehicle.
Robert Saul, product planning manager, told dealers about how BATO designed the Ecopia tire with a focus on rolling resistance. Rod Hutchinson, product manager LT/SUV talked about how the biggest trend BATO has seen in recent years is more cars coming equipped from OEMs with performance tires, touring tires and low rolling resistance tires.
Trent Stoner, manager advertising and sales promotions, went over BATO’s upcoming marketing campaigns for the Firestone brand. BATO has hired the Leo Burnett ad agency (McDonalds) and a new Firestone campaign was launched in September 2012. A new Firestone website (www.Firestone.com) was launched in February and three new 15-second ads begin today.
Phil Pacsi, VP customer marketing and training, told attendees about BATO’s partnering with Dreamworks for the new movie Turbo, in theatres July 17. The “Destination Turbo” promo begins May 15, and POP kits will be sent to dealers in early May.