Yokohama Tire Corp. had a great booth position to show off its latest tire products at the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo in Las Vegas.
As the tire sponsor to the ITE, the tire maker's exhibit spot was right by the entrance to the Wheel and Performance Tires section of the huge aftermarket trade show.
That up-front location gave the tire maker an enviable vantage point to display its latest performance, sport-utility and winter tires. These included the new Avid H4S/V4s passenger tire and the iceGUARD IG10.
The Avid H4S/V4S, which will be introduced in July, is the next generation Avid tire, said Art Michalik, Yokohama's director of marketing communications. The H- and V-rated tire improves upon the previous version while retaining the traditional Yokohama attributes of good handling and performance, he said.
The tire features improved winter traction, thanks to four step-notch circumferential grooves that provide better lateral stability in the snow. Multiple cross-grooves in the tread also aid lateral snow traction by providing more biting edges.
In designing the tire, Yokohama developed a new tread compound that it claims enables the tire to grip better on wet, dry and snow-covered roads while producing high mileage. The optimized shape of the contact patch also has helped reduce tire noise, Mr. Michalik said.
The tire will be available in 33 sizes with 40- to 65-series aspect ratios and in 14- to-18-inch rim diameters.
Yokohama also displayed its new winter tire for 2003, the iceGUARD IG10, which provides grip even on wet ice.
What improves the tire's ice traction, Mr. Michalik said, is the use of micro-carbon cells and shelled micro-bubble technology in the tread compound. The micro-carbon cells work like straws to draw water into the compound and then release it to enhance contact with the road surface. The shelled micro-bubble compound, meanwhile, creates sharp biting edges to further enhance snow and ice traction.
The tread also employs pyramid sipes to help control block stiffness and reduce flexing, which also aids in the tire's traction capabilities.
In addition, multiple micro diagonal grooves on the tread surface create extra biting edges.
The IG10 will be available next spring in sizes still to be determined.
Yokohama also is bringing its Advan motor sports brand to the U.S. in 2003 in the hopes of strengthening the brand, Mr. Michalik said.
Yokohama's Japan-based parent company, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., has used the Advan name for its motor sports activities internationally, but not in the U.S. until now.
Also in the motor sports area, Yokohama has introduced a soft compound version of its DOT-R competition tire, the A032R, which is popular with auto enthusiasts participating in club events, driving schools and track days.
Available in the spring, the A032R SC features a new soft compound that improves grip and should produce better times on the track, Mr. Michalik said.
The introduction of the A032R SC is part of the company's strategy to launch the Advan brand in the U.S., with the A in A032R SC standing for the Advan designation.