Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) has added a new tire, the Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo, to its already extensive lineup of light truck and sport-utility vehicle tires.
The tire maker introduced the tire in late July at a series of Dueler Country Drive & Learn events held in the San Francisco area for company retail store management, dealers and the media.
BFS calls the Dueler A/T Revo the ``Civilized Premium'' all-terrain tire-meaning it appeals to the upscale SUV driver who likes a smoother highway ride and isn't likely to go off-road. The tire became available to consumers Aug. 1.
The company plans an aggressive advertising and promotional campaign to pique customer interest in the A/T Revo and the rest of the Dueler line.
The A/T Revo is available in 27 sizes to fit most light truck and SUV applications. Included are 14 P-metric and 13 L-metric fittings in load ranges C, D and E. The tire carries a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, the company's Platinum Pact three-year warranty and a 30-day test drive opportunity.
Phil Pacsi, executive director of consumer brand tire marketing for Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire (BFSNT), told tire industry media representatives that overall demand for tires will not grow significantly in the years ahead, except tires for the SUV and light truck markets. He noted that sales of these vehicles continue to grow.
There are 31 brands of SUVs now available, and sales of luxury SUVs are showing particular strength, Mr. Pacsi said. The Dueler A/T Revo will be marketed to drivers of such premium SUVs as BMW, Lexus, the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator.
According to Shu Ishibashi, president of BFSNT, the introduction of the A/T Revo furthers the company's ``offensive strategy.'' At the July rollout, he said that BFSNT has introduced a new tire line every year since 1992 as the company changes from ``a defensive to an offensive'' marketing posture.
``This new product introduction is a part of this offensive strategy,'' Mr. Ishibashi explained. He said that the new tire will compete directly with the Michelin LTX A/T.
BFS said the A/T Revo offers consumers the latest in Bridgestone/Firestone engineering know-how, including its UNI-T AQII technology.
It is built with a dual-layer tread compound to provide improved grip, wet and dry traction, braking and cut resistance both when new and when worn.
As the outer tread layer wears, the inner layer is exposed to provide grip superior to that of other worn tires, the company said.
During the Dueler Drive & Learn events, guests were able to compare both new and worn A/T Revo handling and braking performance against that of competing tires in both wet and dry conditions.
The new tire also has been designed with style in mind. It features aggressive tread and sidewall patterns and can be mounted with either its blackwall or its raised white outline letter side facing out.
The new tire joins six others in the Bridgestone Dueler lineup, including:
* The Dueler H/P, an on-road performance tire;
* The Dueler H/L, a highway luxury tire;
* The Dueler H/T, which comes as original equipment on many light trucks and SUVs;
* The Dueler A/T, for both on- and off-road driving;
* The Dueler M/T, the company's maximum traction off-road tire; and
* The Winter Dueler, designed to provide maximum snow and ice traction and stability.
According to Mr. Ishibashi, the A/T Revo is the company's best offering for those who drive both on highways and off-road because it combines powerful grip capabilities with a smooth ride for ultimate performance on a variety of surfaces.
Mr. Pacsi said that to attract consumer attention, BFSNT has scheduled print advertising in six outdoor and sport enthusiast magazines during September and October.
These ads will be supplemented by regional newspaper and radio spot advertising.
Point-of-purchase support will include tire inserts, banners, rebate coupons, promotional literature and special signage. Inserts also will be included in the credit card statements of more than 640,000 consumer customers.
As an added incentive and traffic-builder, those who purchase four Dueler A/T Revo, Dueler H/T, Dueler H/L or Dueler M/T tires during the promotional period will receive a 5-in-1 television-radio-lantern-flashlight-siren unit.
A tire selection tool, the Dueler-Ruler, will help retail store personnel select the right Dueler tires for their customers' needs.