TBC Corp. invited a select group of its dealers to the Palm Beach International Raceway to officially launch its new ultra-high performance tire, the Sumitomo HTR Z5, this week.
Kyle Sanders, consumer product marketing manager for TBC, told dealers, “The HTR Z5 is a successor to our HTR Z3.” The tire is being produced in Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.’s Thailand plant and is already available for sale in the U.S.
The HTR Z5 is being targeted at high performance tuned coupe, sedan and compact owners. It is currently available in 54 Y-rated sizes ranging from 17 to 20 inches.
Sanders showed a chart of passenger and light truck tire size projections. The chart showed that 18-inch and above sizes had grown from 6.9% of the market in 2013 to 16.3% last year. It also showed a 2% year-over-year growth continuing through 2021, when this segment will comprise 21.2% of the market. This is the market segment TBC wants to reach with the HTR Z5.
The HTR Z5 outperforms the HTR Z3 in ride comfort, wet braking, dry braking and wet handling, while matching the HTR Z3 in road noise, pattern noise, dry handling and lateral hydroplaning, Sanders told dealers.
To accomplish this, the engineers widened circumferential grooves to help water evacuation and increased shoulder and contact patch area to ensure an even distribution of press to prevent irregular wear and improve handling performance, Sanders said.
The tire has a full-width nylon band to optimize high-speed stability, with high-rigidity steel belts for durability and car stability, along with a hard apex strengthened sidewall for cornering stiffness, the company’s literature states.
The company is backing the tire with a warranty protection program that provides a free defect replacement for the life of usable tread. To support the launch, TBC is making available product brochures both in-print and digitally, along with online support on its Sumitomo website. The website also features a store finder for consumers.
Sanders said the pricing for the HTR Z5 will be comparable to the HTR Z3 in the market. “We have the quality of a Tier 1 product at a Tier 2 price point,” he told MTD.
The launch of the HTR Z5 is taking place at the same time TBC has been introducing its Sumitomo Enhance line of tires. The Enhance LX2 all-season touring tire was introduced in January; the Enhance CX2 (for CUV and SUV customers) is coming to market in July. This will be followed by the Enhance WX2, a premium performance tire, in August, Sanders added.
TBC Corp. is the exclusive marketer of Sumitomo tires in the U.S. and Canada.