LAS VEGAS-If you wanted to see the latest in new tire designs, the Specialty Equipment Market Association and Auto International Association (SEMA/AI) exposition in Las Vegas Nov. 1-4 was the place. Several tire makers used the venue to introduce tire lines and to show off their latest technology.
Yokohama Tire Corp. took advantage of the giant trade show to conduct a ride-and-drive event, unveiling its new flagship passenger tire-the Z-rated Nexus-and AVS S/T high performance light truck tire.
General Tire debuted two light truck tires and a passenger line.
Yokohama's Nexus features a striking-looking tread pattern incorporating what it calls ``Aqua-Tusks''-a series of water evacuation semi-grooves that run asym-metrically over the tire's surface.
These grooves provide wet-weather traction, Yokohama said, without reducing tread rigidity or the area of footprint.
The unidirectional tire will debut in 1995 in seven sizes from 205/55ZR16 to 265/35ZR18.
Yokohama's AVS S/T is its first product to offer ``Advanced Vehicle System'' handling with load-carrying capacity for light trucks and sport utility vehicles.
The H- and V-speed-rated tire features an aggressive, unidirectional tread pattern and uses nylon belt covers for strength, durability and even wear.
By December, the AVS S/T will be available in sizes 265/70HR16, 275/60VR17, 255/50VR17, 265/60VR17 and 285/60VR17.
General's introductions included the Grabber ST, the company's first light truck tire available in extensive P-metric, light truck flotation and commercial sizes.
It features an ``S'' speed rating, asymmetrical tread pattern, special traction ridges and full-depth siping for traction in snow.
The line initially will be available in five sizes: 30x9.50R15LT, 31x10.50R15LT, 32x11.50R15LT, P265/75R15 and P225/70R14. Ten P-metric sizes will be added in the fall of 1995 followed by six commercial sizes by year-end.
General also displayed a new Hoosier-brand light truck performance radial-the Radial HT.
Designed primarily for all-season use, the tire features an aggressive five-row tread pattern, full-depth lateral grooves, siping and wrap-around shoulder blocks.
The raised-white-letter tire comes in five sizes: LT215/75R15, LT235/75R15, 31x10.50R15LT, 32x11.50R15LT and LT265/75R16.
In January, General officially will launch the AmeriÃG4S all-season passenger radial, its new generation original equipment tire, which also will be available in the replacement market.
Exhibited at the trade show, the S- and T-rated tire is General's first full product using Finite Element Analysis. It carries a 65,000-mile warranty and will come in 17 sizes.
Other tire highlights included:
Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. displayed for the first time in North America its new P400 Aquamile, a T-rated, 80,000-mile wet weather tire, due to be launched in the U.S. in February.
CEC Industries Inc., a Torrance, Calif., firm that sells tires and wheels for high performance cars, displayed what is believed to be the first 20-inch tire-and-wheel package on a vehicle in the U.S.-a Mercedes 600 Coupe shod with 20-inch Pirelli P Zero System tires in sizes P255/35ZR20 on the front and P285/30ZR20 on the rear.
Dunlop Tire Corp. displayed a new V- and Z-rated performance tire-the SP Sport 8000 ULW-that uses aramid cords instead of steel in the belts and beads, making it 30-percent lighter than conventional radials. The lighter tires are more fuel-efficient and reduce vehicle emissions, Dunlop said.
Dunlop will import four sizes of the tire from Germany.