Bridgestone’s mid-range Firestone brand has launched a new “affordable high performance summer tyre”, the Firehawk Sport. The manufacturer says the tyre builds on the US-origin brand’s “strong legacy,” emphasising improved steering response, wet grip and dry braking characteristics versus the predecessor Firehawk SZ90mu. Bridgestone is marketing the tyre as a product to help drivers “feel empowered and in control at all times;” it targets its Firestone brand primarily at younger UK and European drivers, who are brand-conscious but also demanding greater affordability. It wants to leverage the long-term brand value of Firestone, which has a century-long heritage in motorsport and innovation, to achieve this.
Yeovil-based Ariel Motor Company is probably best-known for the hair-raising fun associated with its Ariel Atom and Nomad. However, last August the company entered supercar territory with the launch of the 1180 bhp electric-powered Hipercar.
Goodyear has optimised its UHP tyre development by combining different techniques and disciplines through a statistical model, a process it used when working on the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6. FEDIL has recognised Goodyear’s step forward with a 2022 Innovation Award. The Luxembourg-based multisectoral business federation has honoured the tyre maker in the ‘Process’ category of its awards.
Grupo Alves Bandeira’s MatraX Tyres will make its debut at Automechanika Dubai 2022 (Dubai World Trade Centre, 22-24 November). The brand’s tyre range covers the PCR, high performance, SUV and 4×4 segments – the company plans to showcase its PCR and high performance patterns during the event. Andre Bandeira, managing director of Grupo Alves Bandeira says: “Our MatraX tyres are specifically designed and manufactured to guarantee comfort, safety and outstanding value for money with ultimate drive performance and all-round safety through totally professional engineering techniques.
Bridgestone’s newest ultra-high performance tyre, the Potenza Sport offered the best results in wet and dry performance in the latest Auto Express tyre test. The tyre was able to make the most of its home field advantage as the magazine used Bridgestone’s Aprilla proving ground, just besting Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 by 0.5 per cent. Another notable result was the third-place finish of the Maxxis Victra Sport 5, which adds to a growing list of test successes proving that the brand is increasingly able to hold its own against the traditional premium brands. The test was conducted on the biggest selling 18” tyre size, 225/40R18 92Y. This UHP tyre test of seven products was split from the “UUHP mini test” of three of the highest-performing road tyre products, won by the new Continental SportContact 7. For the UHP test, Auto Express weighted its results to reflect UK driving needs: wet tests counted for 50 per cent of the final mark, dry 40 per cent, and the remaining 10 per cent on noise, fuel economy and price.
Pirelli’s P Zero and Scorpion Zero All Season tyres have been approved for factory fitment on the new Aston Martin DBX707, the most powerful luxury SUV in the world. Pirelli, which has supplied tyres to many previous Aston models, including the DBX, DBS, and Vantage models, specially developed new versions of the tyre to enhance the new model’s blend of performance, power, and comfort. The tyre manufacturer’s commercial strategy includes a particular emphasis on this high-value tyre segment, with the latest fitment further proof of its top of the range tyres’ ability to serve this market segment.
Falken exhibited at Autopromotec 2022 from a major 194 square metre stand in Hall 20. The Sumitomo Rubber Industries brand showed several highlights from its wide range of products for passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks and truck tyres. Highlights include the new winter tyres from Falken: the Eurowinter HS02 and the Eurowinter HS02 Pro, both of which have the Advanced 4D Nano Design technology and convince with their conservation of resources and innovative technological attributes.
Hankook says the Ventus S1 Evo Z marks a new era in its high-end-tyre portfolio, streamlined for highly demanding sportscars. The manufacturer focused on delivering high grip in different weather conditions, developing a new silica enriched compound mixture with the latest generation of functional polymers, technology originating from its racing tyre development. This compound undergoes a slower curing process with low temperature vulcanisation to increase the blending of those molecules that then influences the driving performance. This ensures a consistently high level of grip across a wide range of applications and the result is a tread compound which is bespoke for sports cars of premium manufacturers, representing the top of their range.
Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 was launched in late 2021 with the promise that it would be “ready for anything”. The tyre has certainly impressed in its initial run of independent tyres tests, picking up wins in the Auto Bild, Auto Motor und Sport, and Tyre Reviews tests. But Goodyear’s mission for the tyre has gone beyond its traditional wet and dry performance characteristics; the manufacturer wants to bring this technology to a very wide selection of cars – hence its plan to offer 65 fitments between 17” and 22”, a relatively broad range, by 2023. The tyre and this range is designed to offer fitments for existing growth vehicle types, like SUVs, and future dramatic changes in the market, with a construction making it suitable for the wave of battery electric and hybrid vehicles quickly entering the car parc. In 2021, petrol cars retained a leading 40 per cent share, but battery electric (EV) cars took a record 9 per cent of the European market and hybrid (PHEV and HEV) grew to a significant 20 per cent share, according to ACEA data.
GfK data shows that the 17” and above UK tyre replacement market continues to offer both increased volume and value. While the 19” and above segment retains the characteristics of specialised fitments, the top two fitments account for more than one-fifth of replacement tyres sized 17-18”.
Kumho’s surprise victory in the 2021 in Auto Bild’s 52-tyre summer tyre test with its Ecsta HS51 high-performance tyre did not prevent the manufacturer from replacing the tyre with the Ecsta HS52 successor high performance tyre. Some sizes are already available at Kumho dealerships nationwide, with the balance of the line-up due shortly.
With a wave of new ultra-high performance products from global brands arriving in the post-pandemic market, Tyres & Accessories looks at data supplied by specialist tyre industry analyst Astutus Research showing just how quickly the market for high rim diameter (HRD) tyres is now growing in Western and Central Europe (this data excludes Russia, Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe).
ZC Rubber has launched new flagship tyres in its Westlake and Goodride European ultra-high performance car tyre ranges at The Tire Cologne 2022. The Westlake ZuperAce Z-007 and Goodride Solmax 1 are designed to deliver quieter running, increased grip, and handling performance, ZC Rubber says. The manufacturer adds that it has upgraded the tyre structure with core technologies from ZC Rubber, BPOT technology and Hybrid formula. The Westlake ZuperAce Z-007 and Goodride Solmax 1 will be available in ranges of 17-22 inch sizes for the European market starting in June 2022. Both tyres will be fully introduced throughout Europe and Southeast Asia in the second half of 2022, following the initial roll-out.
Giti Tire has added 28 new sizes to its GT Radial SportActive 2 ultra-high performance tyre range. Fitting rims sized between 16 and 21 inches, the tyre is now available in 42 fitments for cars and SUVs. Some SUV sizes carry a specific SUV marking on their sidewall to indicate their suitability for this fitment, Giti adds. While the eponymous Giti brand is growing in European markets, GT Radial continues to be the manufacturer’s most important brand in the UK, receiving substantial backing from exclusive distributer Micheldever Tyre Services. The latest support for its flagship car tyre product was announced from Stand B030-C039 in Hall 7 at The Tire Cologne, Koelnmesse, which continues until 26 May.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has officially opened its new manufacturing facility in Dudelange, Luxembourg, an operation it calls a “first of its kind” for the company. The inauguration on 5 May follows a US$77 million investment in industry 4.0 digital manufacturing processes at the site.