Dealers Get Early Look at New Hakka 7
Last week, North American tyre dealers got the opportunity to preview Nokian Tyres’ new winter tyre, the Hakkapeliitta 7, reports Tire Review. Touted as the most technologically advanced Hakka yet, the tyre is currently available in Europe, but won’t be widely available in North America until 2011, in time for the 2011-12 winter season.
Nokian invited select U.S. and Canadian dealers and media to Finland for the introduction, which put the Hakka 7 to the test in several different exercises at the tyre-maker’s test centre in Ivalo, Finland. The track, located some 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle on a frozen lake, served as the perfect proving ground for the new studded tyre. The Hakka 7’s attributes were highlighted in a series of exercises, including snow and ice handling, braking on ice, a snowy hill climb and handling on asphalt to test the tyre’s reduced road noise.
The tyre, with a symmetric, directional tread pattern, features an all-new silica compound and advanced stud design to improve performance. According to Matti Morri, manager of technical customer service for Nokian’s car and van tyre division, the Hakka 7 offers improvements over its predecessor, the Hakka 5, in the following areas: slushplaning, rolling resistance, wet and dry handling and ABS braking on asphalt, acceleration and ABS braking on snow and ice, and noise level. The new tyre also boasts 15 per cent less roadwear, he noted.
The Hakka 7 features a six-sided stud design – the “anchor stud” – for better grip and stability. Each stud is anchored in a layer of stiff rubber compound to reduce movement, while air cushions absorb the stud’s hit on the road, reducing vibration, Morri said. As a result, the lifetime of each stud in longer due to decreased wear.
The tyre’s outer shoulder features a slush edge to reduce slushplaning, along with 3-D siping for added stability. On the face of the tread is a driving safety indicator, which lets drivers know when the tyres need to be replaced.
The Hakka 7 is offered in 48 sizes ranging from 13- to 20-inch diameters, including five run-flat options. Currently, the tyre is available only by special order for North American dealers.
Also on the trip, dealers got an inside look at the company’s headquarters in Nokia, Finland. Nokian’s plant, which produced the first winter tyre in the world in 1934, is on the historical register. While the façade may be over 100 years old, inside the tyre-maker’s production process is state-of-the art. With a maximum capacity of 18,000 units each day, the plant is equipped with advanced machines that are able to build up to four different rubber compounds into a single tyre, according to Petri Niemi, Nokian’s global product manager.
Just a few kilometres away is Nokian’s 700,000-square-foot logistics centre, which currently houses 1.2 million tyres. The tyres are continually transported from the plant to the centre, where they are studded, if applicable, and stored.
Nokian’s growth worldwide includes advances in North America, where tyre sales were up 6 per cent in 2009, despite a challenging market. The company will continue to increase the number of its Vianor outlets – currently, there are 12 – in the New England area in the near future, according to Marc Bujold, business development manager for Nokian’s North American business, headquartered in Colchester, Vermont.