Nokian Tyres’ mission statement is to provide motorists with “peace of mind in all conditions,” and Central Europe region SVP Bahri Kurter says Nokian is taking the “all conditions” aspect literally. Interest in products beyond its established winter business has grown in recent years and driven the launch of new summer tyres such as the Powerproof and Wetproof. Now Nokian Tyres is turning its attention to the growing all-season segment.
Recognising the attractiveness of all-season tyres to the majority of the UK market, leading weekly magazine Auto Express has conducted its second comparative test of six products in the segment. Testing on the bestselling 17” size, 225/45R17, the magazine used the independent Test World facility, with support from Hankook, to test in snow, and Continental’s Contidrom to test in cold and wet conditions to represent winter, and dry conditions to represent summer. The full test also included two leading seasonal tyres, the Goodyear UltraGrip Performance Gen-1 winter tyre and the Continental ContiSportContact 5 summer tyre, which showed that all-season products continue to represent a compromise; however the performance gaps in the tests most relevant to UK drivers may surprise critics of year-round tyres.
Nokian’s Weatherproof All-Weather, WR SUV 3, and WR D4 tyres have performed well in the latest round of consumer tyre testing. Most recently the tyres have respectively achieved the best performance on snow and in the wet in Auto Zeitung’s all-season tyre test 2015, the Off Road and SUV magazine winter tyre test 2015 top spot, and the “very recommendable” rating in Auto Zeitung’s winter tyre test. The all-weather product has also been lauded by the UK’s Auto Express and Germany’s VOX TV show, Auto Mobil 2015.
Auto Express has named the Nokian Weatherproof as its number one all-season car tyre in its survey of the segment. Testing a modest six tyres at Nokian’s test centre in Ivalo, Finland for winter conditions and at Contidrom, Germany for summer conditions, the test was a first for the magazine, highlighting the growth trend Tyrepress.com has noted in the UK market for such products. The Nokian Weatherproof was declared the test winner, and an Auto Express ‘Best Buy’, perhaps unsurprisingly sweeping away the competition in the winter tests (the winter rubber specialist uses Test World to test its tyres). The test’s most notable omission is Michelin’s self-professed “game-changer”, the 2015 launched CrossClimate. The French manufacturer has responded hawkishly to references to the new product as an all-season tyre despite its year-round applicability, though tyre test coordinator Kim Adams noted that its March 2015 launch was “just too late” for the tyre to be included.
The new, 3PMSF-marked all-season tyre range that Nokian Tyres first gave word of earlier this year is now available. The Nokian Weatherproof covers 13 to 18-inch fitments and is produced in T, H and V speed ratings, while the Weatherproof SUV can be obtained in 16 to 19-inch fitments and H and V speed ratings. The Weatherproof C is aimed at vans and light commercial vehicles, and Nokian says a large line-up of tyres are available for 14 to 16-inch rim diameters and R to T speed ratings. The Weatherproof C range also includes various tread patterns for larger vehicles and extra load versions.
Nokian Tyres will bring a new portfolio of five new tyres to Central Europe, as the manufacturer targets growth in the region. Calling Central Europe the world’s largest market area for winter tyres, the Finnish manufacturer said that approximately 70 million winter tyres were sold in 2014, meaning the segment is growing faster than the overall market. With the faster growth experienced in some of Europe’s lesser heralded economic nations than in the traditional big five markets, tyre markets are expected to expand, while Nokian also predicts the continued spread of winter tyre legislation. Therefore Central Europe has become one of Nokian’s most important areas for growth.