Yokohama Rubber ups the ante in Europe with proving grounds deal in Spain

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Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has signed a contract with IDIADA Automotive Technology SA, a Spanish company, to allow Yokohama Rubber to preferentially use IDIADA's new test track.

The test track is under construction. It is scheduled to start operation in April.

The term of the contract is 15 years, from 2008 through 2023. The contract gives Yokohama preferential usage of a 1.1-mile wet handling track to be constructed within the proving ground. It will feature partial straight and circling tracks for hydroplaning tests.

Yokohama Rubber says it plans to use the new test track mainly for the evaluation of tire compounds and tread patterns.

"While Yokohama Rubber has been evaluating its tires in Europe, it aims to achieve better evaluation performance and faster tire development for European markets by securing a test track that can be used to evaluate tires, even in winter," said the company in an official statement.

"Yokohama Rubber is enhancing its capability of evaluating tires in response to an increasing sales volume of tires around the world."

The company already has a comprehensive proving ground in Japan, and is constructing another in Thailand, which the company says will be completed sometime within the 2009 fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

IDIADA Automotive Technology is an engineering company devoted to vehicle development. Its main technical center, located 43.5 miles southwest of Barcelona, Spain, includes a comprehensive proving ground equipped with 11 different test tracks for high-speed, fatigue, braking, handling, dynamics and off-road driving.

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