Tires, tires, tires!
Amidst all of the press conferences and announcements, new tires remained the heart of this year’s Global Tire Expo/Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. introduced four new premium tires, including two additions to its Zeon line. The Zeon RS3-A, an ultra-high performance all-season tire, combines large tread elements with an asymmetric design. Initially it will be offered in 31 sizes when it rolls out in April 2011. The tire replaces the Cooper Zeon Sport A/S.
The Cooper Zeon RS3-S will replace the Cooper Zeon 2XS when it launches in April 2011. The tire builds upon the technology of the Cooper Roush RS3 tire and contains a silica compound for “superior wet driving performance,” according to Cooper officials.
Cooper also displayed the new Discoverer A/T 3 during the show. This light truck/SUV tire contains a silica tread compound for improved traction and longer tread life. It will be available in 32 light truck and 30 SUV sizes, ranging from 15 inches to 20 inches in diameter.
Also new is the Discoverer S/T MAXX, which contains the company’s Armor-Trek carcass, a new cut- and chip-resistant compound “and a progressive tread design.” Available in February 2011, the tire will come in eight sizes, ranging from 16 inches to 18 inches in diameter. It will replace the Cooper Discoverer S/T-C, plus select sizes of the Discoverer S/T.
Falken Tire Corp. introduced its first premium ultra-high performance tire, the Azenis PT722, which will be available in March 2011. The tire sports an asymmetric tread pattern for ride comfort, plus a deep tread depth and long lateral groove for traction on wet surfaces. In addition, it contains Falken’s Rotation Wear Indicators, which are designed to regularly inform drivers when they need to rotate their tires.
“We have targeted the PT722 as an ideal original equipment replacement tire for BMW 6- and 7-series models, Lexus LS sedans, and Mercedes CLs, as well as a number of plus-size fitments,” says Andrew Hoit, Falken director of marketing. “We will quickly roll out 44 sizes in diameters ranging from 16 to 20 inches.”
Hankook Tire America Corp. displayed several concept tires during the show, as well as the new Ventus V2 Concept High Performance All Season tire, which became available in 22 sizes earlier this month.
The tire contains Hankook’s patented “Twister System,” a unique, three-dimensional channel that forcibly removes water; Radiation Noise Technology, which allows for a quiet ride; an all-season high performance compound for improved snow traction; an Optimized Contact Patch for improved comfort and stability; and other features.
Hankook’s concept tires will be available next year. The Enfren Eco, an environmentally friendly passenger tire, will hit the market in late 2011.
Designed for high fuel efficiency cars, including hybrids, the Eco contains a solid center block and a special high-silica compound for better steering and lower rolling resistance. The tire also contains alignment indicators in the tread that allow for a quick, visual check of the car’s alignment.
Also coming next year — during the second quarter — is the Optimo H426, an all-season grand touring performance tire. And in the third quarter of 2011, the Dynapro HT will hit the market. The premium, all-season performance tire is designed for light trucks, vans and SUVs and contains “an optimized, eco-friendly compound” for longer mileage, say Hankook officials.
Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. introduced the Hercules Tour 4.0 Plus, an all-season passenger tire that is available in 10 sizes, ranging from 14 inches to 16 inches in diameter.
“Branded with the M+S symbol, the Hercules Tour 4.0 Plus provides all-season capability on wet, dry and light snow,” say Hercules officials. The tire contains an asymmetrical tread design for a smooth, quiet ride; cross-block siping for “crisp handling in bad weather;” silica-enhanced compounds for extra traction; and a nylon overwrap for improved uniformity. It also boasts a stylish sidewall “for a premium performance look.”
Hercules will add more than 15 new sizes to the line during spring 2011. They will range from 175/70R13 to 225/60R17.
Lexani Tires Worldwide LLC announced two unique plus sizes to its LX-9 line. The sizes are designed for vehicles like the Lincoln Navigator, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.
The 295/23R28 109W XL does what an existing size in the market, 275/25R28, cannot, says Aaron Tennison, Lexani’s vice president of sales.
“We came up with a tire that is the same overall diameter, increased the footprint slightly, and were able to increase the load index.”
The other size, 265/25R30 106V XL, can carry more load than another comparative size, 265/25R30, he adds. Moving forward, Lexani plans to add “a lot more sizes that nobody has very soon,” says Sarkis Sepetjian, president of Turbo Wholesale Tires Inc., a Lexani-affiliated company based in Irwindale, Calif.
Nexen Tire America Inc. unveiled its environmentally friendly N Blue passenger tire, which contains a special compound that includes “eco-friendly materials,” according to Nexen officials. The tire also contains a special tread pattern for stability, plus “a dynamically engineered tread sequence to reduce road noise.”
Down-to-earth -- BKT, Greenball displayed specialty tires at the Global Tire Expo
Even specialty tires had their day in the sun at the latest Global Tire Expo/Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.
Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) displayed its new Earthmax SR 45 (E4) all-steel radial OTR tire. The Earthmax SR 45 contains an all-steel casing “for excellent stability, along with very high resistance to snags and punctures,” according to BKT officials.
The tire also boasts a special tread design for maximum traction, deep tread for extra mileage and a special compound with wear-and-cut resistant properties.
Meanwhile, Greenball Corp. displayed its Bomb Squad MX ATV tire, which sports “flexible knob sipes” for increased grip and traction, plus square shoulders, according to Greenball officials.