Auto Service World
News   April 4, 2002   by Auto Service World

Mini Boom for Run Flat Tires

Tire manufacturer Goodyears says that the introduction of the Mini Cooper by BMW with a run-flat tire option will be a boom for run flat tires in the market.
BMW Group recently approved another Goodyear run-flat tire for the North American market. Mini USA, a division of BMW NA, recently chose 17-inch Goodyear Eagle RS-A EMT all-season run-flat tires on the supercharged 163-horsepower 2002 Mini Cooper S.
Manufactured in Fulda, Germany, the 205/45R17 tire is V-speed-rated for sustained speeds up to 240 km/h. Howard Steele, director of original-equipment tire sales in North America, said Goodyear business with the BMW Group will boost “our run-flat tire market share substantially.
“The BMW Group has been aggressive in introducing run-flat-tire technology on their vehicles. BMW understands the importance of run-flat tires and tire safety, and we want to continue our work with them to further improve tire performance.
“With tire safety on motorists’ minds, everyone will benefit from broader consumer acceptance of this emerging tire technology,” Steele said.
Earlier, BMW certified Goodyear Eagle NCT 5 EMT run-flat tires 195/55R16 as a summer tire option on Mini cars. A third Goodyear branded run-flat tire is in development in Lawton, Okla.
Goodyear’s Dunlop brand also supplies original-equipment run-flat tires for Mini. By mid-year, more than 80 percent of all Minis coming to the U.S. will be on either Goodyear or Dunlop run-flat tires. Goodyear Eagle run-flat tires also are an option on BMW’s 3-Series imported to North America.
Steele said Goodyear’s run-flat tire plans also could receive an additional boost from Mini’s marketing plans. In the United States, Mini has assigned 70 dealers to sell its products and has embarked on a “guerilla marketing” campaign. The carmaker will forego traditional television advertising in favor of publicity-generating stunts, such as mounting Minis on the roofs of a fleet of SUVs. The most British of motorcars also will show up at sporting events. BMW has predicted that the United States could become the largest export market for the Mini, with 20 percent of its total output — expected at 100,000 Minis this year — slated for America.
Mini’s run-flat tires are engineered to fit on standard wheels and to run without inflation pressure for up to 150 miles at speeds up to 50 mph, he said. A tire-pressure monitoring system is standard equipment. The tire’s strength comes from a sophisticated reinforced insert in the sidewall. When inflation pressure is lost, the insert provides support to the tire and avoids any noticeable loss of handling, comfort and safety, he said.

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