Cooper Tire & Rubber Company today announced plans to launch Avon Tyres USA, a new collection of performance passenger, light truck, sport truck and motorsport tires. Completely new to the U.S. and Canadian markets, the Avon Tyres USA line is the first ever to have been designed and engineered from consumer feedback data. All data was collected and analyzed by The Tire Rack, the country’s largest independent tire tester, through its web site, www.tirerack.com. To create the U.S. market-specific Avon Tyres USA line, Cooper engineers and designers from Findlay, Ohio, collaborated with Cooper-Avon designers in Melksham, England. They used the more than one billion miles of real world tire data submitted by over 60,000 consumers through www.tirerack.com . The consumer feedback data included noise and comfort requirements, performance preferences and durability insights. Data from The Tire Rack’s year-round multi-brand tire tests was also used for benchmarking various tire attribute targets. As a result, motorists can now choose a true “consumer’s choice” line of tires that combines Avon Tyre’s 119-year European history and rich motorsports heritage with the unique demands of American highways and byways. Beginning late this spring Avon Tyres USA will introduce Avon Tech, a lineup of Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires led by the Tech M500, a Z-rated (with a W-rated cap), asymmetrical summer tire, the Tech M550, a Z-rated (with a W-rated cap) all-season directional tire, and the Tech R, a high-traction, D.O.T. approved tire for motorsport use such as SCCA Solo and road racing. The Tech ST, which addresses the growing high performance sport truck market, will launch in the fall of 2004. Avon Tyres will initially be sold through The Tire Rack’s retail and wholesale distribution network, which includes 1.1 million square feet of warehouse space and more than 3,200 Recommended Installers around the country. “We are delighted to entrust our Avon Tyres USA brand to this premier tire retailer noted for expertise in fitment, quality, selection and above all, excellence in customer service,” said Thomas A. Dattilo, Cooper chairman, president and chief executive ifficer. “Our Avon brand has been successfully sold in Europe for many years spurred on by the rich heritage of racing throughout Europe in various open wheel series. The time is right to capitalize on that expertise in the U.S. and Canadian markets and we believe The Tire Rack is the right retailer to do just that.” “We believe that experience is the best teacher, and with 562 tire models tested over 1.3 billion miles of real world driving, the customer is the absolute expert when it comes to their needs and desires — in their next set of tires,” said Michael Joines, Vice President of The Tire Rack. Established in England in 1885 Avon Tyres has been supplying original equipment tyres on Rolls-Royce automobiles since 1933. The company began building its well-known motorsports pedigree by entering motorcycle racing in 1957. In 1982 Avon Tyres opened its official racing production unit for both motorcycles and cars and continues to supply tires to winning teams in the FIA, Formula 3000, US F2000, and global Formula Ford racing series, recording more than 100 winners every year in 27 countries. European consumer markets still enjoy a full line of high performance, passenger car, all-season and light truck tires from Avon Tyres.