In the preamble to its 2023 winter tyre test, SUV and 4×4 specialist publication Auto Bild Allrad argues that tyres play an even more important role than all-wheel drive when piloting a vehicle in wintry conditions. While employing four driving wheels instead of two undoubtedly improves traction, this only represents one aspect of vehicle safety – when it comes to braking and negotiating curves, tyres are decisive.
Goodyear has debuted an evolution of the Wrangler DuraTrac 4×4 tyre that it sells in many markets around the world, including the UK. The improved Wrangler DuraTrac RT is now available in Australia; Goodyear hasn’t yet given word about the tyre’s rollout in other regions.
Giti Tire has launched the Giti4x4 AT71, the manufacturer’s eponymous brand’s first all-terrain tyre available in Europe. The Giti4x4 AT71 targets a wide variety of vehicle types from AWD SUVs to heavy-duty pick-ups. Giti says the tyre offers “precise control and a durable performance both on and off-road” for “adventurous motorists”. It is available in eight sizes between 17” and 20″, section widths from 245-285, series sizes from 50-70 and speed indices S and T. The tyre offers a wet grip rating of A-C, rolling resistance of C-D and a noise level of B on the EU tyre label.
In response to market demand, General Tire has introduced the first all-terrain tyre with a C-identification for campers and vans. This new tyre, part of the General Grabber AT3 range, is available in size 235/65 R16 C.
Turkish tyre maker Petlas shares that its Explero PT411 A/S has gained 3PMSF certification, and is thus approved for year-round use in markets where specific winter tyre rules apply. All tyres in the all-season SUV range will henceforth carry the ‘snowflake’ symbol on their sidewalls.
Cooper Tire Europe has added the Cooper Discoverer AT3 LT and the Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT to its 4×4 line-up. Building upon the launch of the tyres in the United States, a range of sizes will now be made available in UK and other European markets.
Yokohama’s Geolandar M/T G003 tyres for SUVs and pickup trucks will be fitted to the Korando DKR driven by Oscar Fuertes Aldanondo and Diego Vallejo for Ssangyong Motorsport/Sodicars Racing on the 2020 Dakar Rally (5-17 January). The same car and drivers came in third in the T1.3 petrol 2-wheel drive class in the January 2019 event, and will take on competition in the same class this year.
Michelin’s North American operation has filed a suit against a company importing “counterfeit” tyres from China. The tyres in question are said to violate patents for the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2.
Cooper Tire Europe has introduced its new Discoverer ATT. The new 4×4/SUV tyre is designed for 60 per cent on-road, 40 per cent off-road applications, with fitments available for a wide range of CUVs and SUVs.
As of this year, 42 sizes of BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 are available in the UK. The first sizes in the line-up for extreme off-road conditions arrived in 2018, and the portfolio now available includes 21 new sizes not offered in the predecessor KM2 range.
The largest UK tyre wholesaler, Stapleton’s has long acknowledged the SUV/4×4 sector’s ability to transcend other segments with steady upward performance against a particularly volatile background. While a global rise in raw materials prices and post-referendum inflation are taking a toll on the UK, Stapleton’s notes the internationalism of the industry means the impact will be considerable, because where the car industry goes the tyre industry must inevitably follow.
Maxxis’ original equipment portfolio in the all-terrain vehicle sector gives the manufacturer some authority when it comes to the ATV tyre market. The company says it is “in a perfect position to monitor and react” to trends in the “growing” segment.
Kumho has enhanced its 4×4 tyre range with the Crugen HP91 and KL33 SUV offerings, covering the majority of on-road sizes between them, while the cross-functional Road Venture patterned MT51 and established KL71 also cover everything from such top end SUVs as the Range Rover and BMW X5 to the ever-popular Land Rover Defender.
Yokohama’s extensive offering of 4×4 tyres caters for a broad range of manufacturers and applications, from SUVs to crossover SUVs and minivans, CUVs and sports cars, already boasting a host of OE fitments.
The leading growth in new car sales of SUVs has led to a surge in demand for tyres in this lucrative market. While premium tyre manufacturers have naturally led the way in this segment, meeting the demands of their original equipment customers, themselves expanding and innovating in the segment to offer greater choice to consumers, sub-premium manufacturers have followed suit, giving wholesalers the opportunity to distribute higher margin products, and create a tiered range of products to address this segment.