NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign and a number of new product introductions, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. hopes its March 5th return to the Indy Car circuit will increase brand awareness and sporting-enthusiast market share for its Firehawk passenger car tire line. ``The return to Indy is a great symbol of the rebirth of the Firestone brand...,'' said Stan Coop-er, Firestone consumer products marketing manager. ``The advancements we are making in our Indy tires translate into added performance in our street tires.''
On Feb. 1, BFS began shipping its new Firehawk SS10, an S-rated performance radial based on what the company calls ``Indy technology.'' The SS10, available in 18 60-, 65- and 70-series sizes, features a wider tread width than the Firehawk SS-which the company will continue to produce-and resembles the wide Firehawk racing slicks, Mr. Cooper said.
Backed by a 50,000-mile, treadwear warranty and the Firestone Gold Pledge (replacement) Warranty, the SS10 also provides better wet and dry handling, longer treadlife and a quieter ride than the original SS, he added.
BFS hopes to capture a portion of the sporting enthusiast market interested in the solid white-letter sidewall that duplicates the racing tire's sidewall.
To that end, BFS said it will use television as a ``major avenue'' to present its consumer message when Firestone returns to Indy Car, including two new 30-second commercials that will air during 100 PPG Indy Car World Series events on ABC, five on ESPN, one on CBS and locally in key U.S. markets during the Indy 500.
The company also is sponsoring the ESPN ``Legend Returns'' Sweepstakes, during the month of April, featuring a grand prize trip for two to the Indy 500 and honorary membership on the Patrick Racing team. BFS also will release new racing-oriented point-of-purchase packages.
On April 15, BFS will begin shipping the Firehawk Touring LH, a 60,000-mile luxury touring performance tire, Mr. Cooper said.