Dunlop’s Triple Tyre Launch

Goodyear presented three new high performance Dunlop tyres at the SEMA show in an effort to rejuvenate its North American line up of the fading brand. Independent tyre dealers and consumers that attended the show had the chance to see the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx, the company’s new “flagship ultra-performance tyre” that has already been released into the European market and that performed well in Autocar’s recent tyre tests.

According to Andy Traicoff, director of the Dunlop brand in North America, the tyre has been received enthusiastically from manufacturers seeking “original-equipment tyres for their high-horsepower models.”

The Dunlop Direzza DZ101 was also unveiled at the show. Available in 15 to 19 inch rim diameters the manufacturer explains this “tuner” tyre has been positioned for use on highly modified sport compact cars.

The third line launched was the Dunlop Grandtrek AT20 – and in the company’s words the tyre is aimed at “those who are tired of the truck ride of an SUV.” The manufacturer claims it has been engineered for “responsive handling and a comfortable ride, while delivering an aggressive appearance.” The “luxury” tyre has been designed for mid-size SUV models built on car platforms; a sector that Dunlop believes has experienced dramatic growth in the past five years.

“New products are the lifeblood of our business,” Mr Traicoff continued. “New tyre development is focused on the industry’s fastest growing areas, such as in high performance and SUV tyre sales, to improve dealers’ sales opportunities.”

The manufacturer has termed the multiple product release an “historic showcase” as it’s the largest number of new Dunlop tyres to be rolled out at one time since Goodyear acquired the brand in 1999. The brand has, in recent years, lost its market footing against competitors such as Pirelli and Bridgestone. According to American news source, The Beacon Journal, Dunlop’s share of the US consumer replacement tyre market has slipped from 2.5 per cent in 1997 to 1.9 per cent last year. The launch is being viewed as a critical move by the manufacturer to improve company profits.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association maintains that sales of high-performance tyres are estimated to grow by 128 per cent between 2002 and 2008 whilst SUV tyre sales are expected to grow by 104 percent over the same time. Dunlop is obviously hoping to stake its place in the growing segment, with Mr Traicoff adding: “This is where we want to focus our company for the long term, these types of products with nice returns.”

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