From show to showroom: Touting luxury to performance and everything in between, tiremakers created excitement with new products at the SEMA Show. Here's what's headed your way

Dec. 1, 2006

Altimax. Couragia. Signature. Serenity. Versado. The names conjure up visions of speed, elegance and futuristic technology.

These concepts were embodied in a wide range of new tires that were displayed at the 2006 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas, Nev.

Here's a look at some of those products, their attributes and when they will be available for you to sell.

* Continental Tire North America Inc. (CTNA) debuted its flagship General power line, Altimax, which is part of CTNA's efforts to revitalize the General brand. The Altimax incorporates CTNA's Quad-Tech technology. Quad-Tech includes CTNA's Visual Alignment Indicators, which lets consumers visually identify tire tracking irregularities, and Acoustic Modulation Sound Technology, a sound wave suppression technology. The Altimax HP/RT line will be launched during the second quarter of 2007. By the end of next year, it will encompass nearly 60 sizes (73 SKUs), with speed ratings of T, H and V and aspect ratios ranging from 70-series to 40-series.

CTNA also announced it will continue its joint marketing partnership with Wholesale Tire and Wheel Corp., the parent company of the Giovanna and Gianelle wheel brands. The ContiSportContact 2 Giovanna Edition passenger tire will receive nine new sizes, while the ContiCrossContact UHP Gianelle will get two new sizes.

* Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s new CS4 Touring tire is the result of more than two years of work, according to Phil Caris, vice president of sales and marketing. "This is going to be the best tire Cooper has ever made and introduced to the market.... It'll be the highest mileage warranty tire that we've ever offered."

The premium touring tire, which is replacing the Cooper Lifeliner SLE, will be introduced to dealers in the first or second quarter of 2007. It balances all-season performance and handling characteristics, and is designed to offer a smooth, quiet ride. The company is "going after all the premium OE fitments" in the replacement market with the line, added Caris.


* Federal Tire Corp. put a number of new tires on display, including the Couragia S/U, an SUV tire that's available in sizes up to 26 inches in diameter. Also new from Federal: the Couragia M/T off-road light truck tire, which ranges from 18 inches to 22 inches in size; the Couragia H/T, a highway light truck tire that has yet to hit the United States market; the Couragia A/T light truck tire, which will be available in mid-2007, according to Federal officials; and the new 595 Evo racing tire, available in 15 inches through 20 inches.

Federal also displayed its new Formoza FD2, which is based on the company's Formoza FD1. It comes in 14-inch through 19-inch rim diameters and V, H, W and Y speed ratings. And Federal displayed its Himalaya W595, an ultra-high performance winter tire that's available in size 215/45R17.

* GITI tire (USA) Ltd. re-launched its Champiro UHP line, with emphasis on the Champiro 328, under new Director of Marketing Tom Adams. The company announced it will be adding sizes to the Champiro 528 four-wheel drive tire, the sister line to the 328. One new tire on display, the Champiro HPX, will not be available in the domestic market until 2008, said Special Projects Manager Chris Tolbert.

* Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. displayed its new Dunlop SP Sport Signature, a high performance tire that will hit the market in early 2007. Goodyear plans to combine the SP Sport Signature with its Dunlop Signature to establish a new Signature power line, said Brent Strandberg, channel marketing manager, Dunlop consumer tires. When complete, the power line will range in size from 14 inches to 20 inches.

Also new is the Dunlop Direzza Z1, a tire for road racing, autocross and other competitive pursuits. It will be available this coming spring. "We'll bring in 17 different sizes: some 15-inch, some 16-inch, but predominantly 17 inches and 18 inches," said Strandberg.

* Hankook Tire America Corp., which unveiled a 315/30R30 concept tire at the 2005 SEMA Show, brought it back as a production tire this year. According to Marketing Director Bill Bainbridge, several new products will be introduced in 2007, including a next generation DynaPro AT "that is improved in every way." It will be launched around the third quarter in a wide range of sizes. Bainbridge added that a new ultra-high performance tire will be showcased at the 2007 SEMA Show.

* Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. displayed a number of new tires at the show, including a new run-flat, the Ecsta SPT XRP. The run-flat tire is available in five sizes, with three more on the way next year. "We also will create an all-season run-flat in the Ecsta ASX," said Rick Brennan, Kumho's director of brand management. Kumho also introduced a new broad-line tire, the Solus KR21, which will be available during the first quarter of 2007.

Kumho is adding sizes to its Ecsta ASX line to cover plus-size fitments up to 24 inches in diameter. On the non-mass market side, Kumho is introducing three sizes for its "aroma tire" and six tires for its tire that emits colored smoke. "This isn't for the street," said Brennan. "It's more for competitions like drifting and burn-outs."

Kumho also showcased a 32-inch tire at its booth. The 305/25R32 Ecsta X3 was built "as an engineering exercise to develop the knowledge that's necessary to create it," said Brennan. It may never go into production, he adds.


* Maxxis International-USA added radial sizes to its Trepador extreme off-road light truck tire line. Sales representative Billy Moore said the popularity of off-road tires with overall diameters under 35 inches and the growing use of off-road tires on the highway necessitated the move. The company will not be discontinuing the three bias-ply sizes, he added.

* Nexen Tire Corp. displayed its new N7000 high performance tire, which is available now. The N7000 ranges in size from 17 to 20 inches and comes in aspect ratios of 30- to 45-series. The tire contains a full cap ply and incorporates Nexen's Optimized Belt Contour System. Nexen Vice President of Sales John Aben said a new racing tire from Nexen is on the way, in addition to a new run-flat tire "leaning toward the two most popular minivan sizes."

* Nitto Tire North America Inc. introduced its Dura Grappler highway terrain light truck tire, which contains Nitto's Dura-Belt Technology, a third steel belt that strengthens the tire's tread area. The tire is designed for use on high-torque pickup trucks. "Performance upgrades on these vehicles have experienced tremendous growth," said Nitto officials. The new Dura Grappler comes in four-rib and five-rib designs and 17 sizes, ranging from 16 inches to 22 inches.

* Pirelli Tire North America Inc. showcased its new touring line, the P4 Four Seasons. The first sizes will be available in January 2007; there will be 24 in all. The T-rated tire features a silica-rich tread compound and specialized tread design for maximum grip in both wet and snow conditions. Thanks to major advances in tread profile, generated from CAD designs, and the very latest tread compounding, the P4 Four Seasons has an 85,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. It replaces the P400 T. "It adds a lot of new 17-inch sizes the old line didn't have," said Peter Tyson, vice president of communications. Target vehicles for the new product are small- and medium-sized sedans and minivans.

Pirelli also introduced its size 405/25R24 Scorpion Zero Assimetrico "super single" concept tire for light trucks. The tire was inspired by technology in the heavy truck tire market and the aggressive "dually" look found on bigger pickup trucks, according to Pirelli officials. Production will begin in early 2007 at Pirelli's MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) plant in Rome, Ga. The Assimetrico is the widest tire that can be made using MIRS technology.

* Pro Comp Tire & Wheel Co. Inc. introduced two tires in its Xtreme light truck and SUV line. The three-ply Xtreme Mud Terrain is available in 31- through 37-inch sizes. According to sales representative Klaus Hubrich, it features extra sidewall strength "for the more aggressive off-roader." The Xtreme A/T has a wider, more aggressive tread than the All Terrain, and comes with a 40,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. Pro Comp also made its three-ply Mud Terrain military tire available to the public in two three-ply sizes: 37/12.50R17 and 35/12.50/R18.

* Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. rolled out the Proxes R888, a DOT-approved R (racing) compound tire that will be available in 17- and 18-inch sizes during the first quarter of 2007. Its size range eventually will extend from 13 inches to 19 inches.

Toyo also previewed its Versado LX, a new luxury touring passenger tire that will be available in the spring of 2007. The Versado LX fits 15- through 18-inch rim sizes and has 70- to 45-series aspect ratios. The tire contains Toyo's Silent Wall design, which boasts densely packed serrations along the wall of the tread's longitudinal grooves in order to reduce noise, according to Toyo officials.


* Yokohama Tire Corp. introduced the Avid W4s, an extension of Yokohama's Avid H4s and V4s products. The W-rated W4s will be available in 18 sizes when it comes on-line this coming March, according to Yokohama official Andrew Briggs. The tire will be part of a new power line along with the H4s and V4s, he said.

Yokohama also displayed its new tire during the SEMA Show. The is designed with nanotechnology to fit sports sedans and coupes. Sizes range from 15 inches to 20 inches, all the way up to 285/30R20 99Y. A total of 71 different sizes will be available next year. Yokohama also announced it will add sizes to its Geolandar ATS, which is currently available in at least 25 sizes.

* Zisser Tire Wholesale put the Lexani N3000 and Roadian HP performance tires on display for the first time in the U.S. The N3000 is available in 17- through 24-inch sizes, the Roadian HP in 20-, 22- and 24-inch sizes. Manufactured by Nexen Tire Corp., the tires are warranted against manufacturer's defects in materials and workmanship for the usable life of the tire.

* ZTI Tires exhibited two new tires in its Zeetex line. They include the Zeetex HP101, a high performance tire that's available in 11 sizes, ranging from 17 inches to 20 inches in diameter, and the Zeetex ZT101, a broad-line passenger tire that currently comes in 15 sizes, ranging from 13 inches to 16 inches. ZTI also will start carrying radial light truck tires during the first quarter of 2007.

BFNT achieves Serenity, Hercules hits the trail: Companies unveiled new tires, sizes at meetings

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) and Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. held their respective dealer meetings at off-site locations during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, and rolled out new tires and announced size additions to existing lines.

BFNT unveiled a new version of its Bridgestone Turanza that contains the company's new Serenity technology. The tire will be available in 10 H-rated sizes, seven W-rated sizes and five V-rated sizes in March 2007. It will replace all Turanza LS tires.

Also in the Bridgestone brand, the Dueler H/P Sport will receive four new sizes. In its Firestone brand, BFNT rolled out a new all-season high performance tire, the Firehawk GT. It will be available in 27 sizes and will sport the Firestone shield logo on its sidewall.


BFNT officials also announced that the Firestone Affinia LH30 and select sizes of the Firestone Indy 500 will be discontinued. The company also plans to drop two of its associate brands, Road King and Duralon, by the end of 2006. It will keep the Lemans, Dayton, Gillette and Peerless brands.

Hercules rolled out the Hercules Trail Digger M/T light truck tire for off-road applications. The tire is available in three 15-inch sizes and two 17-inch sizes. Also new from Hercules is the Terra Trac HT, which will be available in 13 sizes in 1Q 2007.

Hercules officials also announced that production of the Merit Mystic Touring CR tire will begin during 1Q 2007. The tire will range in size from 15 inches to 17 inches in diameter.

In addition, the following Hercules brand tire lines will get new sizes: the Terra Trac A/T, Terra Trac SUV, Avalanche winter tire, H/P 4000, MR IV passenger tire, MR IV SUV tire (which targets crossover vehicles), S-305, S-205, S-209, S-201 and S-202.

Goodyear private brand decision creates a Cyclone: New Tire Kingdom International line replaces Hallmark

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s decision to exit a large portion of its private brand business earlier this year sent Tire Kingdom International (TKI) looking for a line to replace its Hallmark private label, which Goodyear had manufactured for the TBC Corp. division.

The result? The new Cyclone passenger and light truck tire line, which will be available in 100 sizes ranging from 14 to 20 inches in diameter, said Lenny Friedman, vice president of TKI. (Larger sizes are on the drawing board.)

Production, which already has begun, will be ramped up throughout the first quarter of 2007. The Cyclone line should be available by the end of the first quarter, he noted. The majority of Cyclone tires will be produced by a domestic manufacturer, whom Friedman declined to identify. "We'll take all of our Hallmark distributors and offer them Cyclone."