Continental: two distinct winter tire customers
Winter may be winding down, but dealers already are ordering for the 2013-14 winter season. Every year the tires evolve along with the market, and Continental Tire the Americas LLC keeps up with the trends.
“Over the past few years, winter tire production has remained strong, despite the cyclic demand of recent milder winters,” says Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental.
“Consumers of winter tires can be split into two distinct groups: snow-belt customers and performance-minded customers. Snow-belt customers require the performance winter tires provide in cold, snowy and icy conditions. Performance-minded customers realize the benefit winter tires provide in colder temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of road conditions.”
Roffler says that although winter tires currently only represent approximately 3% of the total United States market, Continental believes there remains a significant opportunity in this segment as consumers become more educated on the benefits of winter tires.
Those benefits include advancing technology, such as Continental’s traction ridges in the grooves on the ExtremeWinterContact (pictured). The ridges promote snow-on-snow traction for strong traction and braking on snow.
“Consumer awareness in the benefit of winter tires is evidenced by growing industry share,” says Roffler. “Stopping distance, emergency handling and the tire’s contribution to overall vehicle performance is becoming more apparent to the consumer.
"The benefits of specifically designed winter tread patterns, coupled with highly engineered cold weather compounds are key features to the modern safety-conscious consumer.”
Continental's General brand winter tire is the Altimax Arctic, which the company says "combines unique grooves and sipes with a modern compound to assure high performance at low temperatures."
The Altimax Arctic is available in 13- through 17-inch sizes, including LT sizes. Continental says that size range covers more than 72% of the Canadian studdable winter tire market and 68% of the U.S. market.