In the UK, the Asda supermarket chain is said to be looking at the possibility of opening car fast-fit businesses. Asda is owned by Wal-Mart, which operates “tyre and lube” centres at its stores in the USA. An Asda spokesperson said that the company had no plans to launch “tyre and lube” in the UK at present, although the possibility is being evaluated.
Kwik-Fit Fleet is to launch its mobile tyre fitting service in Ireland, servicing mainly business car users at their offices or homes. Kwik-Fit currently has 37 service points in Ireland, with plans to expand. When it comes to mobile service units, the group has 538 vehicles operating in Europe.
Cooper-Avon Tyres is to manufacture the Cooper Cobra VHP at its factory in Melksham. The tyre has been specially designed for European motoring and comes in H and V speed ratings, in 17 sizes and aspect ratios from 45 to 70 series. The Cobra VHP is the third Cooper brand tyre to be made at Melksham, joining the Sportmaster GLE and Discoverer Sport HP.
Nokian has taken the decision to hold back on the launch of its smart tyre to 2002. The “intelligent” tyre which sends tyre information to the driver via a telephone link was due to be rolled out in late 2001. The system designed in partnership with Singapore-based electronics manufacturer, Flextronics, will now be delayed by a full year before it is released commercially.
ArvinMeritor Wheels Division announced at its plant expansion ceremony in San Luis Potosi (Mexico) that it was named General Motors Supplier of the Year for its superior performance in quality, service, technology and price. The award was given during ceremonies Saturday, April 28 at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. This marks the 9th consecutive year the division has been honored with this prestigious award.
In London, Goodyear officially launched its GT3 passenger car tyre – the first tyre to incorporate new “BioTred” technology, in which carbon black and silica fillers are replaced by starch obtained from maize plants. Not only is the T-rated tyre more fuel efficient, says Goodyear, but because maize is a renewable resource and converts carbon dioxide to oxygen while it grows, the GT3 is claimed to be the most environmentally-friendly tyre ever. Goodyear released news of the new technology earlier this year, but this was the first time that the tyre had been shown to the UK press.
Cooper Tire is launching a new Cooper-branded tyre in Europe, aimed at the small van and light truck market. The Discoverer AST II replaces the p-metric sizes of the Discoverer Radial AST and is available in twelve, S-rated sizes for 15 and 16 inch rims. The new tyre will be made at Coopers Findlay, Ohio factory.
Japanese tyre manufacturer Yokohama presents, as a highlight, its new tyre, the “AVS decibel”, which will be distinctive due to its smooth running – even at high speeds and after thousands of kilometres. It will unite athletic driving with pleasantly quiet running noise, as well as providing dynamic performance and stability. The market launch is planned for 2002. The “AVS decibel” will replace its predecessor, the AVS TW.
Uniroyal is entering the forthcoming winter with two new winter tyres. The Uniroyal MS plus 5 is a comfortable winter tyre optimised for wet, wintry weather and developed for vehicles of the compact and the middle class, whereas the Uniroyal MS plus 55 sets new standards for fast, powerful cars with regard to aquaplaning resistance, grip in snow and ice as well as handling in the wet. Both types of tyre have a modern silica tread compound, which makes it possible to minimise the conflict between performance in the wet and on snow and ice. With 12 available sizes (Q- and T-rated), the new MS plus 5 covers about 75 per cent of this market segment. The new MS plus 55 Uniroyal is available in 13 sizes, with speed ratings T (up to 190 kph) and H (up to 210 kph). Thus, the wet-weather specialist is already covering the majority of market demands with the sizes in the launch programme. The new tyres have rounded-off tread blocks with slanted circumferential grooves to ensure faster water displacement. Wide, shoulder transverse grooves ultimately drain the water from the contact patch. In combination with a large amount of natural rubber, the new silica formula provides a distinct improvement in the wet-weather performance of the new winter tyres from the rain tyre company. Find out more in NEUE REIFENZEITUNG 10/2000.
Cooper-Avon has announced the launch of a newly developed road and track tyre, the CR500, which will be fitted to Caterham’s new Superlight R500 model. The tyre has been jointly developed by Cooper-Avon and Caterham and is heavily influenced by Avon’s radial tyre racing success.
For the launch of its two new winter tyre models, the “ContiWinterContact TS 780” and the transporter and van tyre “VancoWinter” at the beginning of October the Continental AG management chose a very special venue: Iceland. However, a blizzard that raged for days prevented practical tests of the new tyres on the selected glacier. Developers of winter tyres are always faced with the classic dilemma: Do they design for optimum grip on snow or on dry roads? The development of the TS 780 for vehicles of the compact and lower medium classes aimed at reducing the discrepancy between the two objectives. An important innovation is a sipe construction which tries to emulate the architecture of beehives with its honeycomb shape. According to the manufacturer, the honeycomb sipe has clear safety advantages when cornering on snow. A directional tread pattern and the latest silica compound technology are additional features responsible for the new tyre’s good driving characteristics in wintry conditions as well as on dry and wet roads. It is available in all European markets needing winter tyres, initially in 13 sizes from 145/80 R 13 75Q to 185/60 R 14 82T. The “VancoWinter” was specially developed for medium and heavy vans. Traction on ice and snow is provided by sipes which are incorporated in the tread blocks. To achieve a significant improvement over its predecessor, the “LMS 70”, the VancoWinter’s sipes and blocks are twice as high. Its behaviour on icy roads is to be improved by distributing the pressure on the ground more evenly. The van tyre is immediately available, at first in nine sizes (from 185 R 14C to 195/65 R 16C).