Global Tire Expo/SEMA Show
It just keeps on growing. The number of exhibitors for the tire industry’s biggest event, the 2013 Global Tire Expo (GTE) — Powered by the Tire Industry Association (TIA), had already exceeded the 2012 total months before the event took place Nov. 5-8 in Las Vegas.
GTE has grown each year since 2010 when it first took place in conjunction with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
“GTE had a record number of exhibitors this year,” said TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield. “At a time where trade shows and conventions in many industries are showing a decline in exhibitors and attendees, it is tremendous to see that the Global Tire Expo continues to grow.”
TIA said there were 272 companies in the GTE section, up 11% from 2012, with net square footage increasing 15% to 160,850 square feet. There were 63 first-time exhibitors this year.
TIA said that 90% of buyers attending GTE plan to buy a product or service from an exhibitor in the 12 months following the show.
“These are some very strong numbers. The data clearly shows that buyers are making decisions based on what they are seeing at the show and, therefore, the number of exhibitors continues to increase each year,” said Littlefield.
While final attendance numbers were not yet available for the SEMA Show, 126,000 credentials were issued prior to the show, with thousands more processed onsite. This represents a 7% increase over the previous year, and is the highest in SEMA Show history.
The SEMA Show had a total of 2,381 exhibiting companies, including those of the GTE, representing all facets of the automotive specialty equipment market.
“A trade show is a reflection of the industry it serves,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA CEO and president. “The unprecedented participation levels this year indicate the industry is moving into growth mode. This was a record-breaking year, and we’re seeing companies ready and eager to do business.”
While the entire automotive industry rolled into Las Vegas for the 2013 SEMA Show, tire makers were out in full force to present their newest tires along with the latest high-tech tools and equipment such as tire changers (one company launched its first!), power tools and lifts. Here’s a rundown. Look for more in our January 2014 issue.
Show me the tires!
There were a lot of new tires introduced at GTE this year, and exhibitors showcased new products in every tire segment.
Hankook Ventus Dynapro lines
Hankook Tire America Corp. unveiled four new tires at GTE.
The Ventus V12 evo2, UHP summer tire, features an advanced “Aqua Jet” tread pattern designed to offer drivers of sports cars, coupes and sedans high-speed stability, improved braking performance in wet and dry conditions, enhanced eco-performance, and better wear-resistance.
The Ventus V12 evo2 will be available to consumers during the first half of 2014 in 62 popular 16-, 17-, 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-inch fitments.
The Ventus V2 concept2, a high-performance A/S tire, features a high-density nylon reinforced belt design to aid in maintaining optimal tire contact pressure, and maximizing overall cornering and handling performance. It also offers a 3D tread block design and solid center rib to provide optimal braking and handling performance.
The Ventus V2 concept2 will be available to consumers during the first half of 2014 in 22 popular 15-, 16-, 17- and 18-inch fitments.
The Ventus S1 evo2 SUV, a premium UHP tire for SUVs and CUVs, offers strong braking in both wet and dry conditions, good cornering grip, and low rolling resistance for improved vehicle fuel efficiency. The Ventus S1 evo2 SUV will be available to consumers during the second half of 2014 in 13 sizes in 19-, 20- and 21-inch fitments.
The Dynapro HP2, a high performance A/S tire for SUVCUV/LT is designed with four-channel circumferential grooves to resist hydroplaning and improve wet condition performance. A high stiffness center rib offers precise steering control and feedback, and silencer sipes prevent unwanted harmonic tread pattern sound. The Dynapro HP2 will be available to consumers during the second half of 2014 in 36 16-, 17-, 18-, 19- and 20-inch fitments.
Cooper Mastercraft Courser MXT
The Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. introduced the Mastercraft Courser MXT premium off-road tire that features an “aggressively styled design” for extreme off-roading performance. Its deep “side biter” design enables the tires to propel through tough off-road conditions with improved maximum traction.
The Courser MXT will be available in 23 light truck sizes ranging from LT235/75R15 to LT275/65R20 in the off-road segment and is designed for today’s truck enthusiasts.
The Mastercraft Courser MXT was recognized with a SEMA Global Media Award as runner-up for the Best New Tire & Related Product category of the SEMA New Products Showcase. The Cooper Zeon RS3-S tire (size 325/30R19) was also named as a runner-up in the New Products Showcase.
Cooper also introduced three new winter performance tires that are available in a total of 28 sizes. The WM-SA2 studless performance touring winter tire is designed for coupes and midsize sedans. The Weather-Master Snow high-performance, studless asymmetric tire offers improved grip, is H- and V-rated and is marked with the severe snow symbol.
The Discoverer M+S Sport is Cooper’s premium studless winter tire designed for drivers looking for traction on snow and ice. The Discoverer M+S Sport is available in T, H and V ratings to cover 16- to 19-inch rim diameters and is suited for CUVs, SUVs and performance-geared SUVs.
Maxxis Escapade CUV
Maxxis International-USA’s new premium crossover performance tire is available in 13 V-rated blackwall sizes ranging from 225/65R17 102V to 255/50R19 XL 107V. Another eight sizes, including 245/50R20 102V, tentatively will be added to the lineup soon.
The M&S-rated CUV tire features straight and slanted circumferential grooves designed to increase water dispersion efficiency. Multi-pitch tread block technology minimizes pattern noise.
The larger outer shoulder block design “increases overall lateral stiffness for improved cornering and handling,” according Maxxis. The two-in-one groove design on the inner shoulder “increases wet weather traction while improving overall wear pattern.”
Using Adaptive Response Sidewall technology, the company engineered the Escapade CUV to deliver a smooth ride with excellent handling.
Ziex ZE950 A/S
Falken Tire Corp. has high hopes for its new Ziex ZE950 A/S. The all-season high performance tire is designed to provide optimum levels of dry, wet, ice and snow grip as well as deliver the longest mileage of any Falken high performance tires.
The company's Dynamic Range Technology was used to develop the following:
* the silica tread compound, which enhances the operating temperature range of the tire. This allows the rubber to remain pliable at low temperatures, increasing grip in all weather conditions. As the rubber heats up under dry conditions, the chemical bonds are designed to remain strong; the result is both "excellent dry handling and exceptional tread wear performance," said Falken.
* an asymmetric tread pattern.
The W-rated sizes are backed by a 45,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. The H- and V-rated sizes are backed by a 65,000-mile warranty.
Designed for sedans, sports cars and crossover vehicles, the Ziex ZE950 A/S will soon be available in 95 sizes that cover 93% of the performance market and 85% of the all-season CUV market. They range from 175/65R15 84H to 275/35R20 102W XL. It eventually will replace the Ziex ZE912.
In 2014, Falken is supporting the tire with a $50 consumer rebate program. It will run from March 1 through April 30.
Warrior R29 and R30
Warrior passenger tires are about to enter the U.S. for the second time. Two models of the tire line, both M&S-rated, were re-introduced by Double Coin Holdings Ltd. and the China Manufacturers Alliance LLC in Las Vegas. They are:
1.the Warrior R29, a premium all-season tire engineered with a symmetrical tread design. It is available in 24 sizes ranging from 155/70R13 75T to 195/50R15 82V. Target market: smaller fuel-efficient vehicles like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
2. the Warrior R30, a high performance all-season tire engineered with an asymmetrical tread design for additional performance and handling. It is available in 11 sizes ranging from 205/65R15 94V to 225/50R17 94V. Size 205/50R16 87V is under development. Target market: mid-size vehicles like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
“The quality of Warrior tires make for an ideal option and profit opportunity as a first replacement tire,” said Ken Coltrane, vice president of consumer tires for CMA. “They are engineered to have excellent mileage, safety and speed ratings.
“Our plan of partnering with respected dealers and retail outlets nationwide to offer these quality tires… is one that will include the strategy of service after sale.”
Warrior tires are backed by the “Warrior Protection Promise,” which is made up of a 30-day satisfaction guarantee (full refund, plus the cost of mounting and balancing); free roadside assistance, including free flat tire repair; a limited tread wear warranty (50,000 miles for the R29, 60,000 miles for the R30); and Double Coin’s manufacturer’s warranty, with free replacement up to 50% of tread life (plus the cost of mounting and balancing).
Coltrane said CMA plans on supporting its dealers out of two warehouses. CMA’s first warehouse was opened in Memphis in 2007. It’s second, in Rancho Cucamonga, is expected to open in the first half of next year.
Warrior tires are manufactured in a joint venture plant owned by Double Coin and Groupe Michelin. The Chinese facility will be able to produce 15 million consumer tires annually by the end of 2017.
Warrior will be a mid-Tier Two tire. “We will work with dealers on pricing,” said Coltrane.
CMA also displayed two other Warrior lines: an ultra-high performance tire and a winter tire. There is no timetable for their introduction into the United States market, said Coltrane. There is also no timetable for Warrior SUV or light truck tire lines.
2-for-1: Landsail LS 588
Two new tires, one tread pattern. The Landsail LS 588 UHP and 588 SUV share a tread pattern that features 3-D zigzag sipes. The sipes help the tire maintain block rigidity by locking together, which, in turn, creates more biting edges for enhanced wet, snow and ice traction in winter conditions.
The tires also share the following characteristics:
* a silica formula for grip and low rolling resistance;
* four-wide main grooves designed to evacuate water;
* large outside blocks for dry traction and handling;
* additional sipes and grooves for hydroplaning resistance and all-season performance;
* advanced shoulder design that reduces wind resistance and dissipates heat.
* low noise characteristics that meet European labeling standards.
What are the differences between the tires? According to Max Wee, director of sales for Sentury Tire Americas, the construction is more robust for the LS 588 SUV tire. The tires also have different size lineups.
The LS 588 UHP all-season ultra-high performance tire is available in 28 sizes ranging from 215/60R16 95V to 245/30ZR20 97W. The LS 588 SUV tire is available in 41 SUV and CUV sizes ranging from 225/65R17 102H to 325/30R21 108V XL.
Plans for 2014 include introducing cross-over and SUV tires for the Delinte brand (between the third and fourth quarter); the Delinte D9 Mud Challenger (between the third and fourth quarter); and Delinte and Landsail run-flat tires (between the first and second quarters).
Sentury Tire Americas is a division of Qingdao Sentury Tire Co. Ltd. It recently changed its name from Sentaida International Inc.
Hercules Terra Trac HTS
The new Terra Trac HTS introduced by Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. features a closed inner shoulder design with low-angle shoulder grooves that reduce noise, maximize stability and resist irregular wear.
Notched and siped solid center rib offers responsive steering and maneuverability in all-season conditions. Four wide circumferential channel grooves maximize water evacuation to protect against hydroplaning.
The Terra Trac offers a 50,000-mile (SUV sizes) or 45,000-mile (LT and flotation sizes) mileage warranty, and is available in seven LT sizes, with wheel sizes ranging from 15 to 17 inches; 26 SKUs will be available in the first quarter of 2014.
Hercules also introduced the H-901 all-steel commercial light truck tire to the company’s H-Series medium truck offering. The Hercules H-901 is available in size LT235/85R16/14 126/123 L, making it suitable for vehicles that require heavy load capacities or operate in conditions that demand a heavy-duty, puncture-resistant tire, notes Hercules.
Nexen launches new products
Nexen Tire America Inc., a division of Nexen Tire Corp., launched products for the passenger, SUV and light truck markets in October 2013. The Aria AH7 is an all-season touring tire with 80,000 mile tread wear. It is available in 13 sizes for 16-inch, 17-inch and 18-inch wheels. The N’Fera RU5 is designed for the CUV & SUV market and is available in 18 sizes for wheels from 16 inches to 20 inches.
Nexen also launched the Roadian HTX light truck line. “The real news is that the Roadian HTX RH5 will be OE on the Dodge Ram 3500,” said John Aben, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Nexen. The company entered the American original equipment market this fall as a supplier for the 2014 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. Nexen also supplies OE fitments for Kia, Volskwagen, Hyundai, Fiat, Mitsubishi and Chevrolet.
“Most of Nexen’s growth over the next two year will be in original equipment. Currently a little over 20% of our total sales are OE. So that will grow to about 25% in the next couple of years,” said Aben.
Nexen is getting ready to be more aggressive in the U.S. winter tire market. Aben said dealers can expect a new Winguard SUV lineup as well as a relaunch of the Winspike and Winguard Sport lines in additional sizes in the spring of 2014.
Traxion farm tires
Vredestein farm tires should gain traction in the U.S. market in the near future, according to Emil Herbak, president of Apollo Vredestein Tires Inc.
There are multiple reasons. Although tractor and implement tires under the Traxion and Flotation brand names have been available in the U.S., the company has not been actively selling them, in part because of supply problems. That will change, said Herbak.
“The strong drive for higher productivity in the agricultural sector calls for new, innovative products as well as for additional attention for marketing and sales support.
“We’ve had shortages in implement tires, particularly for bailers and trailers, because of OE business. We’ve also had some shortages in some of our newer tractor tires. But supply has improved.”
Implement tire supply also will benefit from a 50% extension of agricultural tire production capacity at Apollo Vredestein’s plant in Enschede, Holland.
A new original equipment contract with CNH America LLC/New Holland will help promote Traxion XXL radial rear farm tires without taking away from supply. “We have enough tractor tires,” said Herbak.
Vredestein farm tires are sold in container loads, although some of the fast-moving sizes are in stock at the company’s warehouse in New Jersey.
Sailun Commercio VXI
Sailun Tire Corp. introduced the Commercio VX1, a light truck tire designed for commercial delivery and regional applications.
Featuring an enhanced compound designed to resist tire damage, as well as a reinforced casing to improve load capacity; the Commercio VX1 delivers strong mileage and tread life.
Three wide grooves improve high speed performance and hydroplaning resistance, and J-pattern tread blocks resist uneven wear. Full-length sipes along the shoulder improve heat dissipation and spread weight evenly.
ASA TireMaster G4
The new, totally re-written TireMasterG4 cloud‐based software suite from ASA Automotive Systems LLC will include a new point-of-sale system and an updated accounting application. It creates a "store of the future" mobile environment, according to President Ken Halle.
Tire dealers will be able to use mobile devices, including tablets and smart phones, to service their customers much faster – and with a higher level of personalized service.
This fourth-generation technology application builds upon ASA’s "best‐of‐breed" software and enhances it further with:
* new functionality,
* a streamlined workflow and
* a simple and intuitive user interface that gives dealers the ability to improve efficiency and productivity, enhance customer service and maximize profits.
Since TireMasterG4 was introduced at ASA’s annual InfoExpo conference last September, ASA has signed up 25 clients for the new application, which will be available in mid-2014.
“Dealers are readily embracing the look and feel of the new technology, with its intuitive workflow that delivers genuine value and can revolutionize the way they do business, setting them apart from the competition,” said Dave Vogel, vice president of sales.
Hennessy debuts balancer plus updates and prototype
Hennessy Industries Inc. introduced a new balancer, updated two tire changers and unveiled a prototype product for inflating tires.
The Coats-branded Vero Series V200 Wheel Balancer features the next generation of Coats’ Direct Drive technology. Unlike indirect drive systems that use belts and pulleys, the Coats technology combines the motor and spindle into a single, prebalanced assembly that stays accurate for years and never needs to be recalibrated to zero.
Kevin Keefe, vice president of marketing, said every feature of the V200 improves accuracy. A patented laser-guided weight placement system pinpoints the exact weight location, both radially and axially, minimizing residual imbalances. The industrial-grade touchscreen has an intuitive interface that helps technicians perform 85% of wheel balances without touching the screen.
“We’re the only manufacturer to show both dynamic and static data. It’s a final quality check and the most accurate,” said Keefe. The new balancer will be released for sale shortly after Jan. 1, 2014.
Hennessy also introduced the latest version of its Coats X-Series tire changers and its new ProGuard Plus leverless tire changer.
The X-Series tire changers come standard with a clamping range of six to 24 inches, and offer several features exclusive to Coats including a hybrid duckhead, single-point bead blast and hybrid leverless power duckhead.
The ProGuard Plus Leverless tire changer is an advanced version of the Coats’ brand current ProGuard tire changer. It is designed to tackle the most advanced applications in the industry, according to Keefe.
“Shops are seeing more advanced applications, such as run-flat and low-profile assemblies. The ProGuard Plus leverless tire changer takes the manual effort out of the changing process while also protecting tires and rims, so technicians will consider it their best friend when it comes to advanced applications.” The ProGuard Plus leverless tire changer comes with pneumatic wheel clamping system, dual bead roller system and auxiliary bead depressor.
Hennessy also displayed a prototype of an inflation station designed to boost productivity up to 20% over conventional inflation. The product makes a tire changer available for another tire during inflation. In addition, the auto bead blast occurs at the inflation station, freeing the technician to change tires.
NitroFill has a new tire dressing
NitroFill Inc. launched the new NitroShield Tire Protectant, an easy to apply; “permanent” tire dressing that provides a gloss finish while shielding tires from UV rays, ozone damage and oxidation.
A single, properly performed application of NitroShield can provide a lifetime of tire protection as well as a rich, glossy shine that can last the life of the treated tire.
Unlike most tire appearance products and dressings, NitroShield is solvent-free, water based, environmentally friendly and will not damage tires, notes NitroFill.
Each purchase of NitroShield is backed with a membership in the NitroShield Customer Care Club which includes free roadside assistance if a NitroShield treated tire fails due to a road hazard anywhere in North America.
Hunter introduces a fully automatic tire changer
Hunter Engineering Co. introduced its first company-produced tire changer, the fully automatic Revolution. The company said it is the first tire changer designed and built in the United States in many years.
Patented and patent-pending features include a leverless tool head that demounts without levers and prevents damage to the tire and rim; a"go" pedal designed to control the tire changer's progress; a built-in wheel lift that lifts the tire directly into position; powered press arms that mount virtually any tire; and a touchscreen interface.
The company said the fully automatic process places the operator away from the machine, increasing technician safety and eliminating pinch points. The tire changer also increases tire and wheel safety as all rim contact or near rim contact is plastic. The Revolution monitors TPMS location and will not allow the tire to be mounted or demounted in an unsafe position.
Hunter says the Revolution tire changer is easy to use for all tire and wheel combinations. The operator selects the clamp size; sets the tire pressure monitoring system sensor and rim diameter; uses the press arms as needed; and sets the inflation pressure. The tire changer also includes 15 on-board training videos; animations that help train the operator "on the job"; and a video library of special procedures.
New Ingersoll Rand cordless tools
Ingersoll Rand debuted a new line of 12V compact cordless tools at SEMA. Joshua Johnson, engineering manager for cordless tools at Ingersoll Rand, said that as technology advances, automobiles get smaller and more complex and technicians need compact tools to perform tight space repairs.
The Ingersoll Rand IQV12 Series cordless tools enable technicians to access narrow spaces faster and easier. The IQV12 Series includes three Impactools, two ratchets, a drill/driver, a screwdriver and an LED task light.
IQV12 Series Impactools are available in ¼- and 3/8-inch square and ¼-inch hex quick-change models, and deliver 100 ft.-lbs. of reverse torque to tackle hard-to-remove fasteners in hard-to-reach places. Measuring 5.9 inches from tip to tail, IQV12 Series Impactools feature small-diameter, ergonomically designed handles for improved comfort.
Ingersoll Rand designed two cordless ratchet wrenches on the 12V battery platform. The R1100 Series ratchets are available in 3/8- and ¼-inch drives. Both ratchets deliver up to 30 ft.-lbs. of torque and have durable heads to handle additional manual ratcheting, when the application demands it. R1100 Series ratchets have a patent-pending slim-line battery design and paddle-style trigger that allows for easy operation in a variety of grip positions and angles.
The company says the D1130 3/8-inch drill/driver is one of the most versatile tools in the IQV12 Series. With two speeds and a 15-position clutch, the drill/driver supports drilling and fastening applications. The D1130 has 1,600 rpm and 205 in.-lbs. of torque for faster drilling, and weighs only 2.43 pounds to help minimize user fatigue.
Like the IQV12 Series drill/driver, the D1410 screwdriver has two speed settings and a 15-position clutch. The screwdriver is designed to support assembly and disassembly applications, and features a magnetic, pin-detent bit holder for fast, one-handed bit changes. The D1410 has a variable-speed switch with an electronic brake to provide maximum control of the tool and a smaller-diameter, ergonomically designed handle to help reduce operator fatigue and tool vibration during extended use.
The L1110 LED task light completes the IQV12 Series cordless line. The ultra-bright white LED light has a 20,000-hour life and delivers up to 180 lumens of light for up to 6.5 hours on a single charge.
Every tool in the line is powered by a long lasting 2.0 Ah 12V lithium-ion battery. The battery has a positive-lock feature that emits a click to let the technician know when the battery is properly secured in the tool, helping to prevent drops and damage.
Corghi balancer sees the light
Corghi USA Inc. launched the EyeLight DiagnosticLine electronic wheel balancer with an automatic touchscreen monitor touchless wheel dimension detection. The EyeLight will handle tires from passenger cars, light transport vehicles and motorcycles.
It features a new electromechanical system that reduces working times and increases centering precision, notes Corghi. At the end of the spin the wheel is braked and automatically brought to the balancing position.
An integrated LED light illuminates the work area to facilitate rim cleaning and application of counterweights. An internal point laser indicates the position of application of adhesive counterweights. An optional “weightless effect” wheel lifter is also available.
TIA honors Hall of Famers, MTD Publisher
TIA inducted Lex Brodie, Robert “Bob” Dunlap and Richard “Dick” Johnson into its Hall of Fame. TIA’s awards ceremony took place on Nov. 4, 2013, one day prior to GTE and SEMA.
As part of the event, Modern Tire Dealer Editor Bob Ulrich presented Dan and Diane Hennelly, owners of Hennelly Tire and Auto Inc., with the 2013 Tire Dealer of the Year award. They operate The Tire Choice and Total Car Care stores based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Hennellys were chosen for the tire industry’s most prestigious award from more than 33,000 eligible independent tire dealers throughout North America. The Hennellys are MTD’s 21st Tire Dealer of the Year.
Lex Brodie, a native of Kauai, Hawaii, founded the Lex Brodie’s Tire Co. chain in 1961. Known as one of Hawaii’s greatest entrepreneurs, Brodie was a master at branding, advertising, and customer service. He passed away on Jan. 11, 2013, at the age of 98.
Bob Dunlap serves as president and CEO of Dunlap & Kyle. Over the years, Dunlap served on numerous dealer councils and was a founding member of the TBC Corp.
Dick Johnson retired from American Tire Distributors (ATD) in 2009. Prior to his retirement, Johnson served as chairman and CEO of ATD. Johnson led the company though 10 years of rapid growth, both organic and through a series of acquisitions.
TIA awarded Modern Tire Dealer Publisher Greg Smith its Ed Wagner Leadership Awqard. It is named in honor of the late Ed Wagner, who was a strong voice in the tire and retreading industries for his whole career.
Smith has been with Modern Tire Dealer for more than 30 years. He has held various publishing positions at the management level. Smith has worked extensively on both the editorial and publishing sides of the business.
TIA expands ATS Tour, website
Also during SEMA, TIA announced locations for the 2014 Automotive Tire Service (ATS) Advanced Instructor Training Tour.
The four-day, in-depth hands-on training classes will be conducted around the United States with the goal of educating tire technicians on the proper safety procedures and guidelines for servicing passenger and light truck tire and wheel assemblies.
TIA will be visiting 13 cities in 2014. Exact dates for each location will be confirmed and announced in the near future. The preliminary schedule is as follows:
* February - Charlotte, N.C.;
* March - Sarasota, Fla., and Houston;
* April – Denver and Baltimore;
* May - Minneapolis;
* June - Pittsburgh;
* July - San Francisco;
* August - Chicago;
* September – Cincinnati and Boston; and
* October - Los Angeles and Tallahassee, Fla.
MTD is a sponsor of the tour, along with: 31 Inc.; American Tire Distributors (ATD); Bartec USA; Counteract Balancing Beads; Mighty Auto Parts; Myers Tire Supply; Patch Rubber; REDI-Sensor; REMA Tip Top; Team Torque Inc.; Tech International; and Tuffy Manufacturing.
TIA says there is still time for other interested companies to sponsor the tour.
TIA also announced an expanded website with a new section that includes the technical bulletins for tire service. TIA requested the information from vehicle manufacturers, tire manufacturers and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), who assisted in the project by gathering policies from their members and other tire companies.
"The subject of tire service life continues to be debated in the industry,” said TIA President Ken Brown.
TIA has received technical bulletins from the following tire manufacturers: Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc., Hankook Tire America Corp., Yokohama Tire Corp., Michelin North America Inc., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Continental Tire The Americas LLC, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, Apollo Vredestein B.V., Pirelli Tire North America and Falken Tire Corp.
Aeolus plans to be a global value leader
In September 2013, Aeolus Tyre Co. Ltd. entered the touring segment with the TouringAce A/S AG03. Available in 26 sizes ranging from P195/70R14 to P23565R18, the tire is rated at 700 A/B UTQG, offers 70,000-mile limited warranty and a 25% free road hazard warranty. In October, the company introduced the SteeringAce AU02, an ultra-high performance asymmetrical all-season tire in 37 sizes ranging from 195/55R15 to 255/45ZR20 XL.
This month, Aeolus is rolling out a second generation, high performance all-season tire, the PrecisionAce A/S AH02 in 35 sizes ranging from P175/70R14 to P23550R18. Mike Leverington, general manager of Aeolus’ operations in the United States, said the new tire’s UTGQ rating is 440AAA versus 360AA for the previous generation’s tire. Tread wear expectancy is 60,000 miles, which is a 17% improvement over the previous generation tire.
Up to 2013, the Aeolus brand was known in North America for truck and OTR tires. Aeolus is ranked first in OTR, third in TBR and sixth overall among Chinese manufacturers, according to Leverington. The company now offers UHP, HP, touring and light truck (highway all-season and all-terrain) products covering more applications, sizes and tire segments than other competitively priced Asian tire manufacturers. “Aeolus tires are best suited for mid-value minded consumers,” said Leverington.
Although new to the consumer market, the company’s goal is to be a global value leader that is a “step above” other Chinese manufacturers. “We are not the lowest price but we offer much more value. For example, we offer product warranties that are equivalent in many cases to Tier Two and Tier One product warranties.”
Leverington said other factors distinguish the company from Chinese manufacturers, such as a training program, the use of PAH-free oils in its products, and environmentally friendly factories.
Passenger and LT tires are produced in a $150 million factory built in 2011 in Jiaozuo, Henan Province. The factory will have a capacity of 15 million tires. “We will easily be able to accommodate 2% market share in the U.S. from that single factory.”
The company recently launched a new website to showcase its passenger and LT tires available in the U.S. “Aeolustireamerica.com incorporates a responsive design, making it mobile-friendly and easy to navigate on any device,” said Leverington. The company will add a dealer locator, a function for finding a tire size, an owner's section and a dealer portal to the website by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
And the first place new tire is…
Coker Tire Co. launched the American Classic “Bias-Look” Radial Whitewall, a steel-belted radial designed to fit collector cars from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. The tire took first place in the Tire and Related Product category of the SEMA New Products Showcase.
CEO Corky Coker said the tire is sure to find its way onto thousands of collector cars around the world, thanks to a wide range of sizes: 6.50R13, 7.50R14, 8.00R14, 5.60R15, 6.70R15, 7.10R15, 7.60R15, 8.00R15 and 8.20R15.
The tire offers the tall and narrow profile of a bias ply tire, combined with the modern qualities of a radial tire. The new line of American Classic radials offers fitment on a number of popular applications, such as the Ford Thunderbird, Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillacs.
The company said the range of sizes provides options for enthusiasts using 13-, 14- and 15-inch wheels.
ContiForceContact is designed for track and street
Continental Tire the Americas LLC introduced its ContiForceContact ultra-high performance passenger tire which will be sold exclusively through Tire Rack Inc. The tire was a runner-up in SEMA’s New Products Showcase Awards in the tire and related product category.
DOT-approved for street use, the ContiForceContact was developed in Germany for performance on the track. Continental said the tire provides precise handling, optimum cornering grip and resists hydroplaning.
The extreme summer performance tire is a first for Continental, according to Tony Talbert, tuning key account manager. “It’s a niche product. We typically don’t go into many niche products. But with our involvement in Grand Am racing and the move toward more performance, it was a niche we felt we needed to fill.”
The tire is now available in 10 sizes ranging from 225/40ZR18 to 325/30ZR19.