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To Falken, tire sizes matter

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Falken Tire Corp.'s roots are planted deeply in the high performance, ultra-high performance, sport truck and light truck tire market segments. According to President and COO Richard Smallwood, SKUs in those segments represent 31% of the entire consumer tire market.

By the middle of 2010, Falken will have more than 60% coverage -- without competing in the broad-line tire segment.

At its Eurowinter HS439 launch in Montreal, Canada, on Feb. 18, the company announced new tires and sizes that will give Falken tire dealers more to offer. The HS439, introduced at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas last November, will be available for the 2009-2010 winter season in 31 sizes, broken out as follows:

* 40 series: 235/40VR18 and 245/40VR18.

* 45 series: 225/45VRF17, 235/45VR17, 245/45VR17 and 245/45VR18.

* 50 series: 205/50VR17, 225/50VR17, 235/50VR18 and 255/50VR19.

* 55 series: 195/55HR15, 205/55VR16, 215/55HR16, 225/55HR16, 225/55VR17, 235/55HR17, 235/55HR18 and 255/55VR18.

* 60 series: 185/60TR14, 195/60HR15, 205/60HR16, 255/60HR17 and 235/60HR18.

* 65 series: 175/65TR14, 185/65TR14, 185/65TR15, 195/65HR15, 225/65HR17 and 235/65HR17.

* 70 series: 175/70TR13 abd 235/70HR16.

The sizes will ship July through August.

Andrew Hoit, Falken's director of marketing, says the company is working on expanding the line further, perhaps by 10 to 12 sizes.

To compliment its Eurowinter HS439, Falken plans to introduce another winter tire in 14 studless sizes in 2010.

Falken's first AT tire will be available this summer. The High Country AT will be produced in what Smallwood calls "more traditional sizes," including LT sizes. In March of 2010, the Wild Peak AT will be launched in more than 40 P-metric and LT sizes, including some with large outside diameters.

A performance touring tire line, featuring commodity sizing, will officially launch in the first quarter of 2010. Falken will follow up that introduction with a new premium performance touring tire in late 2010 or early 2011; it will feature 16- through 18-inch sizes.

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