Bridgestone/Firestone Vehicle Systems, a business unit of BFS Diversified Products L.L.C., introduced at the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo an aftermarket suspension system that it said allows a driver to control performance with the ``push of a button.''
The company claimed its Praxis Advanced Suspensions are the first aftermarket applications using Dual Rate Air Spring technology and the Intelliride control-system developed by Firestone Industrial Products, another operating unit of Bridgestone/Firestone.
John Vincent, managing director of Bridgestone/Firestone Vehicle Systems, said the ``Praxis systems represent our company's effort to bring technology and quality to the aftermarket consumer. Unlike individual components available in the marketplace, Praxis suspensions have been developed as a system, balancing key performance elements...from tire to chassis.
``The automotive enthusiast simply has to push a button to change the performance of the vehicle. Most enthusiasts are not engineers. We did the engineering for the user, so they can take the driver's seat and enjoy the performance.''
The Praxis system interacts with the driver through a dashboard-mounted control module that provides the driver with a choice of three fully engineered and tuned operating modes: touring, sport or track. According to the company, vehicle performance and appearance are transformed without having to physically swap out parts, translating to a cost savings.
In touring mode, the company said, the Praxis suspension system has been engineered to replicate the character of the factory-produced vehicle.
In sport mode, the vehicle transforms to accommodate a more aggressive use by automotive enthusiasts. Handling response is dramatically sharpened to suit spirited driving situations, BFS said.
The track mode setting radically transforms the vehicle, lowering ride height 50 millimeters, the firm said, while increasing damping performance to precisely control body motions. Spring rate is nearly doubled by adjusting the remote reservoir volume.
BFS displayed the Praxis suspension system on a Subaru WRX platform at the SEMA/ITE show. It expects to complete final marketing and distribution arrangements by year-end for product release to the U.S. market in the second half of 2003.
Bridgestone/Firestone Vehicle Systems is responsible for the design, tuning, and integration of original-equipment and aftermarket suspension systems. It is a unit of Bridgestone/Firestone in Nashville, Tenn.