Continental covers two winter segments
The 2015-2016 winter selling season will begin soon, probably before the record 34-inch snowfall in Boston completely melts. In preparation, Continental Tire the Americas LLC recently introduced two winter tires.
One is a new and improved (and renamed) Continental tire. The other is a General tire targeted for a new market. Both are stamped with the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol.
The next generation ExtremeWinterContact is the WinterContactSI. “Extreme,” which is the family name for Continental’s UHP tires, was not a good fit, according to Joe Maher, product manager for passenger and winter tires.
“The WinterContactSI is a studless tire designed for cold weather applications,” he says. It will be priced as a Tier 1 tire against the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Latitude Xi2; Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 and R2 SUV; and Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and CM-V1.
Designed for passenger cars, minivans and CUVs, the tire will be available in the fall in one T-rated and 21 H-rated sizes. Maher says the company will begin accepting orders in April.
The WinterContactSI features the following proprietary technology:
- PolarPlus+, which keeps the tread compound pliable in very cold temperatures and enhances grip on wet, snow and ice covered roads.
- Continental’s Alignment Verification System, which is designed to alert drivers to the alignment of the vehicle.
Overall, the new tire performs better on wet, dry and icy roads than the tire it is replacing. It also has lower rolling resistance.
It matches the ExtremeWinterContact’s snow traction capabilities and noise levels.
Continental backs the WinterContactSI (the “SI” stands for snow and ice) with a 30-day customer satisfaction trial.
Grabber Arctic LT
The General Grabber Arctic LT is Continental’s first entry into the dedicated LT-metric winter tire segment. In the past, the company covered that market by “stretching” the size complement of the General Altimax Arctic.
The Grabber Arctic LT initially will be available in the fall in 10 Load Range E sizes ranging from LT225/75R16 (with a load index of 115/112) to LT275/65R20 (126/123). The line and sizes will replace the LT-metric sizes in the Altimax Arctic line.
As with the WinterContactSI, the company will accept orders for the Arctic LT beginning in April.
Designed for larger trucks, the studdable Arctic LT features the following:
- an all-weather, cut-and-chip resistant compound designed to maintain cold-weather flexibility, excellent traction and long, even tread wear.
- Continental’s DuraGen Technology, which provides responsive handling and even tread wear under all load conditions. This is the first winter tire to utilize DuraGen, says Barry Terzaken, light truck product manager.
- interlocking light truck winter sipes designed to provide 1) exceptional grip in snow and icy conditions, and 2) strong wet and dry braking and stable handling.
- snow traction ridges, which offer additional grip during cornering, accelerating and braking and in deep snow.
- a 30-day customer satisfaction trial warranty.
Development Engineer Torsten Heinhaupt, who was the Grabber Arctic LT ContactSI’s project leader, says the buttress design of the tread blocks is unique.
“It is a bit lower than the tire surface – usually it is at the tire surface. We gained more traction edges... and it stabilized the block, also an advantage.”
According to Terzaken, the Grabber Arctic LT will compete against the Firestone Winterforce LT, Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT LT, Cooper Discoverer M+S, Toyo Open Country WLT1, Hankook I•Pike RW11 and BFGoodrich Commercial T/A Traction. ■