Bridgestone broadens appeal with new products, new sizes and new features
Bridgestone Americas Inc. is offering more to its customers: more fuel efficiency, more safety, more performance.
At a recent press briefing in Phoenix, Ariz., the company unveiled the latest tire in its fuel-efficient Ecopia tire line, the EP422 Plus. It also discussed upgrades to its DriveGuard run-flat line, and introduced an ultra-high performance tire, the Potenza RE-71R, which the company calls its most extreme UHP street tire to date.
More fuel efficiency
Bridgestone’s Ecopia EP422 Plus is engineered with a combination of light and strong materials for greater fuel efficiency, giving consumers an extra 20 miles per tank. It is backed by a 70,000-mile tread wear limited warranty and is available in 43 sizes, ranging from 15- to 18-inch rim diameters.
According to Phil Pasci, vice president of sports/events marketing and training, the Ecopia line of low rolling resistance tires was launched in Europe in 2013 with the EP500. It was designed in conjunction with automaker BMW for use on its electric vehicles.
The new EP422 Plus offers longer wear and even better rolling resistance, Pasci said. “It was designed on our fuel saver platform” to deliver fuel economy, dry and wet handling and long wear. “It is an overall improvement over a product that is very well-respected in the market.”
Introduced last year, Bridgestone’s DriveGuard line is in an innovative category, said Pasci — a touring all-season tire that offers a smooth, quiet ride, extended tread wear and one extra, added benefit: Consumers can safely drive on it 50 miles at 50 mph while the tire is flat. If a flat tire strikes, drivers are empowered to keep moving, the company noted. They can avoid the immediate burden and circumstances, and choose when and where to have their tire repaired or replaced.
DriveGuard is targeted at safety-minded consumers (females predominantly). It should be fitted to vehicles with tire pressure monitoring systems so the indicator light alerts the driver if there is a problem.
Pasci said more than one-half million units have already been sold and four new sizes have been added to broaden the appeal. DriveGuard tires are available for coupes, sedans and wagons and come with a 50,000- to 60,000-mile tread wear warranty. DriveGuard tires are now available in 32 sizes in 15- to 19-inch rim diameters and 35 to 65 series.
Bridgestone’s Potenza RE-71R is tuned for maximum handling on the track and engineered to deliver fast lap times. However, the tire also offers performance for everyday street driving.
The Potenza RE-71R tire features a newly developed tread compound that increases contact with the road surface, giving more grip when cornering and braking. Other key features of the Potenza RE-71R tire include:
- Immediate steering response: The tread pattern of the tire is engineered with a wide center rib that makes the Potenza RE-71R tire highly responsive in extreme driving performance circumstances.
- Extreme cornering: The unique design of the Potenza RE-71R tire features maximum shoulder stiffness and provides constant rubber-to-road contact in sharp turns.
- Enhanced wet traction: Wide circumferential grooves and an angled directional pattern provide effective drainage in wet conditions and give the Potenza RE-71R dependable everyday performance on the street.
The Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R is available in 29 sizes in 15- to 19-inch rim diameters, 55 to 35 series, and speed ratings V and W. An additional four sizes are expected this summer, and there are plans to expand the Potenza RE-71R tire lineup even more in 2016. ■