The new General Altimax Arctic 12 studdable winter tire from Continental Tire the Americas LLC targets the passenger car, minivan, crossover and compact sport utility vehicle markets. The new tire also completes the General brand’s winter tire lineup.
Certified for severe winter service, the Altimax Arctic 12 is available in 47 extra-load T-rated sizes from 14 inches to 19 inches. The size range is a large improvement over the General Altimax Arctic tire it replaces, according to Joe Maher, Continental’s product manager for passenger and winter tires in the U.S. The predecessor tire was available in a few 17-inch sizes, which also was the largest rim diameter.
“Now we have a really broad range of 17-inch sizes, and some 18-inch and even a 19-inch tire size. It’s good market coverage even for late-model vehicles.”
Maher says the Altimax Arctic 12 is better than its predecessor in three key ways:
1. A new tread pattern resists hydroplaning and improves grip in winter weather.
2. A new compound improves performance in snow and ice while improving tread life up to 18% versus the Altimax Arctic.
3. A new contour design evenly distributes pressure across a larger contact patch, improving both tread wear and tread life.
The Altimax Arctic 12’s features include a strong rigid interwoven center rib structure for superior steering response and maximum dry handling grip. Strategically angled tread blocks with serrated winter sipes are designed to provide traction and braking capability in all directions on snow and ice.
The new tire was launched in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, in February. Dealers got “the full winter impact” at the event, according to Shannon Hutzel, branch manager at MotoStar Tire and Automotive Products Inc., which is part of the Best One Tire Group, in Menands, N.Y.“We were lucky to experience snow and ice at the test track. I think the Altimax Arctic 12 will have improved water dispersion over the previous model. That will decrease hydroplaning, and that’s important to my customers.”
A complete winter tire portfolio
Maher says the Altimax Arctic 12 is designed around what consumers are looking for: ride comfort, excellent winter traction in snow and ice, and long tread wear lasting multiple seasons.
The new General brand winter tire also gives dealers what they are looking for in their product screens. “We made the Altimax Arctic for everything from a Ford Focus to a Ford Super Duty,” says Travis Roffler, director of marketing for the General brand. “It was one pattern, one design and one compound for three market segments.
“We had a one-style-fits-all tire, and the push back from the dealers was that when a work truck comes in, the Altimax Arctic doesn’t look robust enough.”
The company’s response was to break the Altimax Arctic into three lines designed for work trucks, light trucks and passenger vehicles.
The Grabber Arctic LT, an LT-metric studdable winter tire for larger and heavier commercial service light trucks, was introduced in 2015. Available in 10 sizes, the Grabber Arctic LT has a symmetric tread pattern, which allows for rotation on dually trucks.
The Grabber Arctic, a studdable winter tire for larger SUVs and pickups, followed in 2016. It is offered in 16-inch through 20-inch sizes.
“When we combine the Altimax Arctic 12’s 47 sizes with the Grabber Arctic in 15 sizes and the Grabber Arctic LT in 10 sizes, we have a total of 72 sizes in the market,” says Roffler. “It’s really good market coverage for a winter tire lineup. So between those three lines, dealers will really be able to fit the majority of the vehicles that come into their stores.”
The Altimax Arctic 12 will compete with the Firestone WinterForce, Hankook Winter i-Pike RS, Cooper WeatherMaster WSC, and BFGoodrich Winter Slalom KSI. Dealers can order the Altimax Arctic 12 starting this month with deliveries beginning in July. ■