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From refined to rough-and-ready... Light truck/SUV tires made tracks at the SEMA Show

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From refined to rough-and-ready... Light truck/SUV tires made tracks at the SEMA Show

When people think of tires displayed on the SEMA Show floor, what immediately springs to mind? High and ultra-high performance passenger tires, most likely. However, the number of light truck, SUV and off-road performance tires displayed at the event continues to grow.

Several tire manufacturers and marketers showcased products at the 2004 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show, which was held last November in Las Vegas, Nev.

* Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. used the SEMA Show to introduce its Discoverer STT line for rugged, off-road applications. The Discoverer STT contains Cooper's three-ply Armor-Tek3 body and tread compound for enhanced durability and puncture resistance. It also boasts notched shoulder lugs that are scalloped to ensure "that one section always has a clear shot at fresh ground for traction in soft surface applications and additional gripping power in rock applications," according to Cooper officials.

The M+S-rated tire is available in 12 LT sizes covering 16-, 17- and 18-inch rim diameters, with 14 more sizes on the way. Cooper also will sell, market and distribute Kenda brand light truck tires (plus passenger tires) throughout the United States and Canada thanks to a recently signed deal with American Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd., the parent company of Kenda USA.

* Duro Tire & Wheel, which normally focuses on specialty tires, is delving into the light truck segment with its Onvoy DL6000 tire. Its product launch date is still unknown, says Duro Regional Manager Bob Graham.

* Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. rolled out the Signature HPT luxury high performance SUV tire under its Kelly brand. The Signature HPT is available in sizes 285/60R18, 275/55R20 and 285/50R20. It represents Kelly's first 20-inch fitment.

* Greenball Corp. unveiled its Hiway Trooper light truck tire, which is available in several 16-inch sizes and is M+S-rated.

* Kumho Tire U.S.A.'s new Road Venture MT is designed for consumers who want aggressive off-road capabilities, plus the big-wheel, low-profile look of a performance street tire, say Kumho officials. The tire's advanced tread compound protects against cuts, chips and abrasions.

With a rim width of 11 inches and an overall diameter of 38 inches, the Road Venture MT is the widest, tallest light truck product Kumho has ever offered.

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* Maxxis International added seven sizes to its M-762 Bighorn Radial Mud Terrain tire line in the fourth quarter: LT265/70R17, LT315/75R16, 33x12.50R15, LT305/70R16, 35x12.50R15, LT255/85R16 and LT305/70R17.

The off-road tire features multi-ply sidewall construction to resist punctures on rocky terrain, and deep, self-cleaning tread blocks for traction in mud.

* Mickey Thompson Performance Tires rolled out its Baja ATZ light truck tire. "It's a crossover tire for someone who wants to make mom's SUV look more aggressive," says Todd Dwyer, who works in Mickey Thompson's sales support department. The Cooper Tire-owned firm's new Baja MTZ light truck tire is an intermediate mud terrain product.

* Michelin North America Inc. (MNA) showcased a proposed replacement for its current-generation BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM tire.

Michelin "is shopping it around to consumers and dealers to see what they think," says an MNA spokesman.

* Pro Comp Tire & Wheel Co. says its Xtreme AT light truck/SUV tire will be available in 16- through 20-inch sizes this year. "People want an aggressive-looking tire, but also something that rides quietly," says Pro Comp Sales Manager Klaus Hubrich. Pro Comp also will add seven sizes to its Xterrain line in 2005.

* Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. rolled out its Open Country H/T light truck and SUV tire in 15-, 16-, 17- and 18-inch diameters. The M+S-rated Open Country H/T's aspect ratios range from 85- to 55-series. The S-, T-, H- and V-rated tire "delivers smooth, quiet operation throughout (its) wear range," according to Toyo officials. It contains a wide, square tread with two main grooves to channel out water and snow.

"Some 33 new tire sizes will be available shortly after the launch of the Open Country H/T," says Toyo Director of Marketing Travis Roffler. "This is one of the most comprehensive new product introductions ever for Toyo with replacement sizes applying to a broad range of late model light trucks and SUVs."

* SURE Tire Co. also got in on the act by unveiling two light truck and SUV tires. The Remington Emerald LX A/T SUV tire contains a unique all-terrain design and is available in four sizes. The Summit Trail Climber A/W, which is designed for luxury SUV applications, also comes in four sizes.

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