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Goodyear unveils new tire for luxury, crossover SUVs

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is targeting the growing luxury and crossover SUV markets with its Goodyear Fortera HL (Highway Luxury) tire that will start shipping in early November.

The Fortera, which will at first be available in 16 sizes, is not only a new tire, says Steve Myers, Goodyear marketing manager for light truck tires -- it represents a whole new line.

"This market segment is so unique...we felt it was the appropriate time to differentiate," Myers explains.

The Fortera combines the "best features" of Goodyear's Wrangler, Eagle and Integrity lines, according to Goodyear officials, and will be sold initially through independent tire dealerships and company-owned stores.

It will be priced at 10% more than the Goodyear Wrangler RTS, retailing at $115 to $120 a piece.

"Overall, we don't expect it to cannibalize the RTS line and some of the other Wrangler lines," Myers says.

Goodyear is negotiating with "a number" of auto manufacturers both domestically and abroad to obtain Fortera OE fitments but doesn't expect to have any before 2004.

The Akron, Ohio-based tiremaker will launch a print ad campaign this January to publicize the Fortera line as part of its "On the Wings of Goodyear" promotion.

The company will officially introduce the product to dealers Oct. 28 at The International Tire Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

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