LOS ANGELES (April 7, 2004) — Setting its sights on young, trendy but budget-conscious consumers, Michelin North America Inc. is giving them an entry-level, low-cost ultra-high-performance tire developed for the sport-compact vehicle market.
The new BFGoodrich g-Force Sport — the latest addition to the brand's g-Force family of performance tires — is aimed at providing “maximum performance at an affordable price,” according to BFG officials. They rolled out the new tire last week in Los Angeles during a ride-and-drive event for consumer and trade publication journalists.
The tire, which Michelin said features a “cutting-edge tread design” in line with the mindset of the younger sport-compact consumer, will get a limited distribution launch on June 1 in seven states, but will be introduced May 1 throughout Canada because of that country's shorter summer selling season.
Greenville, S.C.-based Michelin officials told Tire Business the company plans to make the tire available this year in California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina — all states that have strong concentrations of performance tire buyers. It also will be handled nationwide via Internet and mail order marketers The Tire Rack in South Bend, Ind., and Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Discount Tire Co.'s Discount Tire Direct operation. The tire maker eventually will expand the line's availability throughout the U.S. during the first half of 2005.
The g-Force Sport will be available in 21 dimensions in 16-, 17- and 18-inch sizes, according to Oscar Pereda, BFG technical marketing manager. He said the company will look to add a 19-inch size and some 20 dimensions within the next year. The tire features BFGoodrich's ETEC System (Equal TEnsion Containment System), designed to provide “excellent strength, a smooth ride and a consistent footprint” while maintaining “maximized tread contact under high-speed conditions,” BFG executives said.
Among the tire's features are:
* A rounded shoulder profile that improves progressivity and predictability at limit of adhesion;
* Sidewall inserts that resist deflection and “generate tremendous cornering force”;
* BFG's patented BlackTech tread compound to maximize traction on dry pavement while resisting heat buildup;
* Two deep, wide circumferential rain channels to help disperse water and aid wet-weather traction; and
* A rim protector for improved wheel damage protection.
The company said the new tire blends its racing-bred BFG technology and performance with an accessible price point and is the brand's first product designed for young ultra-high-performance fans who want a performance tire but can't afford more costly higher-end products.
Michelin is targeting the g-Force Sport against lower-cost UHP competitors including the Dunlop FM 901 and Toyo Proxes FZ4, among others.