Yokohama Tire Corp. has been producing off-road tires since 1982, when the Super Digger was launched. Thirty-five years later, the company still offers the Y829 Super Digger III bias off-road racing tire in size 33x10.50-15!
The Geolandar M/T directional tire was introduced in 1998. Yokohama tweaked the design and compounding in 2004; the resulting M/T+ G001 became a new SKU number, but was hardly a new tire.
More than two decades have passed since the creation of the original Geolandar M/T, which makes the new Geolandar M/T G003 highly anticipated by Yokohama dealers in the U.S.
The M/T G003 features a non-directional tread pattern and is equal to or superior in every way to the tire it replaces, the G001, says Bob Abram, senior manager of product planning.
“The directional tread design of the old G001 wasn’t playing with customers or dealers. Getting the looks right of this tire was important because we knew what happens when you don’t get the looks right, even if the performance is pretty good.”
Features and benefits
Yokohama says the Geolandar M/T G003 is superior to the G001 not only in mud traction but also in dry braking and snow braking. It also weighs less, which results in greater fuel efficiency.
The tire’s dry, mud and wet traction were engineered using a triple-polymer tread compound combined with optimized sipes and “an ideal” block-to-void ratio. The tread also features an advanced variable pitch pattern that Abram says will be a big selling point for Yokohama dealers.
“One of the things that came out of our research with consumers and dealers alike is they want a quiet tire — for a mud tire. They don’t expect it to be touring tire quiet, but they would like to use it as an extra selling feature.
“We’ve got a new multi-pitch variation that helps keep the noise down. That helps even out those peak harmonics, which are what make a lot of the noise when the tire is rolling at highway speeds.”
Yokohama’s new Geo-Shield construction incorporates multiple sidewall plies, steel belts, a full nylon cap and a high turn-up carcass into the design. All Load Range E and D sizes feature three-ply technology.
“The three-ply is important as a marketing tool,” he says. “It gives consumers confidence that we have extra strength in the sidewall to protect against punctures and to hold up to heavy use. Also, that full nylon cap helps you avoid tread punctures, so there is an extra layer of protection there.”
Abram says sidewall durability is not a major concern for the urban cowboy, but “is a huge issue for people who are really beating up and using their vehicles off-road.”
The G003’s Sidewall Armor not only protects the sidewall against impacts, but also adds traction elements to the design. And it gives the tire a unique, aggressive look.
“We were trying to avoid coming out with an M/T tire that was so ‘me, too,’ that looked just like the Toyo Open Country M/T or the Hankook Dynapro MT RT03 or BFGoodrich T/A KM2, for example. We didn’t want that to happen, but we also wanted to say to the extreme off-roader, ‘We have something extra for you.’”
By the end of the year, the Geolandar M/T G003 will be available in 37 Q-rated sizes, with rim diameters ranging from 15 to 20 inches. They will be introduced in three waves, broken out by the following load ranges:
July 1: 18 LRE, 1 LRC, 1 LRD (including LT255/75R17 LRC, LT275/65R20 LRE and LT305/55R20 LRE).
September 1: 8 LRE, 4 LRC.
November 1: 3 LRC, 2 LRE.
Yokohama backs the tire with a 30-day money-back trial pledge.
According to Abram, the mud-terrain segment in the U.S. accounted for more than 3.6 million tires in 2016, compared to more than 2.8 million in 2012.
The top five selling light trucks in 2016 were the Ford F Series, Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra and the Jeep Wrangler. Those vehicles “are right in our wheelhouse of what we want as potential fitments for this Geolandar mud tire,” he says. So are some specialized vehicles designed for more rugged duty like the F-150 Raptor, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. ■