Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2005   by CARS Magazine

Industry News

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire Announces Size Additions For Winter Tires...

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire Announces Size Additions For Winter Tires

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) has announced size additions to the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-22 RFT, Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25, Bridgestone Blizzak DM-Z3 and Winterforce tire lines.

“It may be hot outside now, but winter is just around the corner – and with it comes hazardous snow and ice conditions,” said Phil Pacsi, executive director, North American Consumer Tire Marketing, BFNT. Many of these winter tires are also Run-Flat tires, which provide an added benefit by allowing drivers to travel up to 50 miles at 50 mph after loss of air.

The new sizes are:

Blizzak LM-22, available now: 225/45R17, 205/

Blizzak LM-25, available now: 195/55R15, 205/50R16, 215/55R16, 225/45R17 235/45R17 245/45R17 Avaialable November 05: 245/40R18 265/35R19 Available October 15th 05: 205/45R17

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-Z3, available Nov. 1:

P205/75R15, P215/75R15, P225/75R15, P235/75R15, 215/70R15 P225/75R16, P245/75R16, P265/75R16, 225/70R16, P255/70R17, 265/70R17, P245/65R17 P255/65R17, P265/50R20 Available November 15 05: 235/60R18, P265/50R20

Winterforce, available now, are: P205/75R15, P215/75R15, P225/75R15, P235/75R15, 215/70R15, P225/75R16, P245/75R16, P265/75R16, 225/70R16, P255/70R17

Hankook Lands OE Fitment for 2006 Saturn ION

Hankook Tire has announced that the company has signed a contract to supply passenger tire H725A as optional equipment for the 2006 Saturn ION. Hankook will supply General Motors’ Saturn Division with P205/55R16H size tires molded with the Hankook trademark. The H725A model is a tire for compact passenger cars equipped with enhanced fuel economy and high-speed performance. Hankook spent two years in the development of the H725A. Hankook currently supplies tires to Ford, Volkswagen, Renault, Daihatsu and Mitsubishi.

Hankook Tire is also seeking OE supply contracts with other manufacturers such as DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz.

Dynamic, Galaxy Merge

Dynamic Tire Corp. of Toronto and Galaxy Tire & Wheel, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts have reached an agreement in principle to merge the two companies. The resulting company, (GPX Tire & Wheel) is expected to have 2005 sales of more than $300 million and assets in excess of $100 million. According to the companies, Galaxy brings to the partnership the firm’s engineering capabilities, a well regarded brand name and long established original equipment contacts. Galaxy operations in Europe, including its factory in Serbia, are positioned to provide a spring board for increased penetration of European markets. Dynamic Tire brings the Canadian firm’s sourcing and logistics expertise. Dynamic has enjoyed an annualized growth rate of 50% since its inception in 1997, and has been voted one of the 50 best managed companies in Canada for the past two years. GPX will seek out acquisition opportunities in both China and Europe in order to augment its existing production capabilities. Galaxy and Dynamic intend to maintain the existing brand names of both companies. Galaxy and Constellation tires will continue to be available only through Galaxy dealers and Primex tires will continue to be available only through Primex dealers. The merger, however, will allow Galaxy to add medium radial truck, special trailer and ATV tires to the Galaxy product range and it will allow Dynamic to add certain specialty tires produced by Galaxy to the Primex product range. Both firms anticipate that the merger will be completed by the end of the year.

Toyo Spins Off Nitto Tire

Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. Has announced that the Osaka-based tire manufacturer has spun off the Nitto brand division of Toyo Tire (USA) Corp., a sales subsidiary, and incorporate it as a separate company, to be called Nitto Tire North America Incorporated. Nitto offers products in the high performance, passenger, SUV and light truck segments. Nitto Tire North America Inc. will open a new US plant scheduled for completion in 2006. The new firm, chaired by Shozo Kibata, with Tomoshige Mizutani as president, is based in Cypress, California, and employs 25.

Pirelli Adds Fourth MIRS Line for 26-Inch Tire

Pirelli has launched fully automated production of the firm’s 26-inch Scorpion Zero SUV tire at Pirelli’s Rome, Georgia plant. The start up is the fourth module of Pirelli’s MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) bringing capacity to over 350,000 tires per year. Although flexible enough to produce both passenger car and SUV tires, the new line will be dedicated principally to Scorpion Zero due to the rapidly growing business in performance SUV tires both in the North America and elsewhere. According to Pirelli, the high load ratings and safety margins required for fitments such as Hummer H1 and H2 make automated production efficient and cost-effective. The first production from the new line is the 315/40R26 Scorpion Zero that was introduced at the 2004 SEMA Show in Las Vegas but previously produced only in Germany.

Michelin Proposes Multiple Manufacturers in Formula One

Michelin Chairman and CEO Edouard Michelin has issued a statement favouring multilple tire manufacturers in Formula One. Several racing sources have called for a single “spec” tire as a way to avoid problems like those that decimated the field at this year’s U.S. Grand Prix. Edouard Michelin reiterated: “Formula One must remain the marvellous technological showcase that it is, thus allowing the world’s automobile players to compete, whilst offering a true show for the fans, as well as providing benefits within the automotive industry. It is with this in mind that tire manufacturers must be able to make their own contribution towards improving the performances of the teams they supply. This supposes that there be at least two tyre manufacturers involved, maybe even more.” The firm calls for a more balance split of manufacturers among the teams, as early as the 2006 season. Michelin currently supplies eight teams.

Marketing Veteran Boosts Yokohama Management Team

Seasoned marketing executive Brad Sherwin has joined the expanded management team at Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc., the company has announced.

Sherwin has been appointed Marketing Communications Manager for Yokohama in Canada, effective immediately. He will be responsible for the company’s advertising and Internet activity, retail promotions and public relations for all product lines.

Sherwin’s extensive marketing background was gained from both corporate and agency experience, with firms such as Volkswagen and A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.

A native of BC, Sherwin lives in Vancouver and will be based in the Yokohama head office in Coquitlam. Sherwin joins Henry Pietraszek, Director of Marketing, in an expanded marketing department at Yokohama. Pietraszek assumed the director’s role in November, 2004.

B.C. Loggers Test Goodyear Mixed Service Tire

Fountain Tire and Goodyear have released the results of tire testing it conducted with Western Canadian logging fleets using Goodyear’s G288 mixed service tires. The Unisteel G288 MSA tire is the successor to its G286 mixed service tire, which has been used in the mining, logging and construction industries. According to Goodyear, the G288 offers improved mileage (up to 30 per cent more miles to removal), better resistance to cutting and tearing, improved off-road and wet traction and a quieter ride. Unimac Carriers, a logging contractor based in Quesnel, B.C., was among the fleets testing the new tire. Owner Larry Mack says his fleet runs 60 per cent on-highway and 40 per cent off-road with trucks often running 60 miles on gravel. The fleet tested the G288 MSA on the steer axles of seven of its trucks, and reported realizing a 26 per cent improvement in treadwear compared to its previous tires.

“The tires performed really well
off road and were much easier to steer in mud than our previous tires,” said Mack. “Traction is important in our business. You’ll get front-end skid on the gravel if you don’t have the right tire.” He also noted improved ride characteristics, adding “Because it’s a more flexible compound, it feels better over the bumps. The drivers say it’s like driving a different truck.”

Also in B.C., Cruise Transportation tested the tire on a seven-axle, setback front axle logging truck. Truck owner Ron Metz said he achieved an 85 per cent improvement in tread life on his steer axle. According to Metz: “I’m hauling 70 per cent off-road and the other 30 per cent is in extreme heat on the highway. It’s got great traction on and off-road, it handles beautifully on the corners and gives me a smooth ride.”

Delphi Tire Pressure Monitoring System uses existing vehicle electronics

Michigan-based Delphi Corporation has developed a patented integration technology for its tire pressure monitoring system that uses a common receiver to integrate the tire pressure sensor and another vehicle function. The sensor can also work with the vehicle’s remote keyless entry (RKE) system using the same RF (radio frequency) modulation as the RKE system. The RKE system can receive the signal from the sensor, providing data such as tire pressure. Delphi’s system uses the existing antenna elements for the AM/FM/RFA antenna system embedded in the rear window or side glass of the vehicles and displays the tire pressure information on the driver information center. At present, Delphi is set to put its tire pressure integration system on two future vehicle platforms and is licensing its technology to other auto suppliers.