The following tires were unveiled during the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.
Falken Tire Corp. launched its Azenis RT-615 ``fun'' product-a premium sports car tire.
The tire will compete with the Bridgestone Potenza RE01R and Yokohama Advan Neova, said Darren Thomas, Falken executive director of marketing.
Mr. Thomas noted that since 2000, a gap has existed between motorsports tires and flagship ultra-high-performance street tires. He said UHP tires have grown less aggressive to accommodate owners of Porsches and other premium sports cars who didn't care for the noise and lack of ride comfort. Original equipment manufacturers thus have modified their specifications and not produced radical sports radials.
As a result, Falken is launching the Azenis RT-615 specifically for those who want an ``unorthodox'' street tire that can cross over and drive as a track tire as well.
``The kind of person who buys this tire comes in and asks for it,'' said Richard Smallwood, Falken vice president of sales, marketing and logistics. He noted that the Azenis RT-615-a premium product-is for anyone who wants maximum performance and doesn't care about price.
The tire is available in more than 30 sizes to fit 14- to 18-inch rims.
Taiwan's Federal Corp. is rolling out its Himalaya winter tire line in North America and plans to launch its Chinese-made Hero brand in North America next year.
Federal, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a company, showed its Himalaya WS1 snow tire at the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The H-rated tire is available in a number of 14-, 15- and 16-inch sizes, Federal said. It features a silica-based tread compound for ice/snow/wet traction.
Federal's Hero line is made by its Jiangxi Federal Tire subsidiary company in China, where the brand has been marketed for some time, according to CEO Jamie Ma.
The tire maker will offer the Hero line in passenger and light truck tire sizes, although specifics are not available yet. The company's Web site shows two passenger and one light truck/SUV lines, including the Hero Atlanta performance line.
Federal also is rounding out its Couragia M/T light truck tire line with additional sizes.
Federal's capacity in both of its factories stands at nearly 5 million units per year, the company said. To date, Federal has no U.S. or Canadian representative offices, selling direct to customers from Taiwan.
Goodyear: Fortera SL
Goodyear introduced the Fortera SL Edition tire for customized, luxury sport-utility vehicles.
The tire will be offered in 22-inch rim diameters, the Akron-based tire maker said. The directional all-season, H-rated tire will be available in sizes 305/45R22 and 305/40R22.
The tire's tread and sidewall feature a unique design, the company said, with the tread design extending to the shoulder area where it is joined by artistic swirl patterns on the sidewall. The tread design also is aimed at enhancing wet and dry traction while being tuned for quiet performance.
``In this segment, style and appearance are of utmost concern,'' said Todd Hershberger, Goodyear's marketing manager, light truck tires. ``At the same time, however, the truck and SUV owners have needs for performance in everyday conditions.''
Nitto: SUV, UHP tires
Nitto Tire North America Inc. is introducing what it calls an ultra-high performance, all-season SUV tire and a race tire for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events.
The NT420S is Nitto's newest line and will replace some sizes in its NT404 light truck line, according to Conrad Galamgam, Nitto's technical department director. The NT420S comes with an aggressive, non-directional tread pattern.
The H- and V-rated tire features outer blocks that optimize dry performance for cornering and handling; a center tread pattern that evacuates water to help reduce hydroplaning; and inner shoulder tread and sipes that provide traction under varying weather conditions. The tire comes with an M+S rating and is available in 11 sizes ranging from 255/55R18 109V to 305/40R23 115H.
Mr. Galamgam said Nitto will release the NT01 UHP tire in six sizes by April, just in time for SCCA competition.
Treadways Corp. is adding Zenith-a high-performance line-to its powerline concept.
Zenith will be available to dealers during the second half of 2005 and is targeted at the tuner performance and sport truck market.
It will be offered in S-, H- and V-speed ratings and will be come in 25 sizes to fit 17- to 24-inch rim diameters.
Treadways said additional details on treadwear warranty, specific sizes and construction will be announced later.
Pirelli: Scorpion Zero
Pirelli Tire North America unveiled the 26-inch Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico for extreme truck conversions.
Building on the introduction at last year's SEMA Show of the 25-inch M+S Scorpion Zero, Pirelli said the new 26-inch tire will be one of four sizes of the Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico lineup available in January. In addition to size 315/40R26, the new tire will be offered in sizes P275/45R22 XL, 285/30ZR22 XL and 335/25ZR22 XL.
The 26-inch tire also carries an extra load rating of 120 and features Pirelli's ``Double Z'' tread design, which is aimed at providing dry traction plus wet capabilities.
The tire is produced in Pirelli's MIRS manufacturing plant in Rome, Ga.
Tyres Internat'l: Pit Bull
Akron-based Tyres International Inc. will distribute at the end of 2005's first quarter a new extreme off-road tire designed for rock crawling.
The Pit Bull Rocker will be rolled out in 24 sizes to fit 15- to 17-inch rim diameters. It will come with sidewall protectors, rim guards, deep lugs and patented tread designs. It is designed to be cut-, heat- and puncture-resistant.
Visitors to the Vredestein Tires North America SEMA Show booth got a rather icy reception-the company's new high-performance Wintrac Xtreme winter tire frozen into a block of ice.
Vredestein Tires, the U.S. subsidiary of Dutch tire maker Vredestein Banden B.V., featured the V- and W-speed-rated Wintrac Xtreme during its first-ever appearance at the SEMA Show.
The Wintrac Xtreme, which features design elements from the Italian design house Giugiaro, is available in two 16-, six 17- and five 18-inch sizes-ranging from 205/55R16 94V XL to 265/35R 97W XL-making the product particularly attractive to dealers who market to owners of European sports and luxury sedans, said Al Smoke, president of the Metuchen, N.J.-based U.S. company.
The product features proprietary siping technology, silica tread compound and a W-shaped tread pattern designed to resist aquaplaning, optimize snow traction and minimize noise generation.
The Wintrac Xtreme is one of five winter tires Vredestein offers, the others being the Wintrac, Snowtrac, Snowtrac 2 and the Icetrac, which is designed for studs. The firm also offers the Quatrac 2 all-season sports tire.
Vredestein also presented two new summer performance tires, the V-rated Sportrac W and 19-inch versions of the Y-rated Ultrac.
The Sportrac W is the successor to the Sportrac V with improvements in wet and dry performance, rolling resistance and tread life. It is available in 12 sizes.
The Ultrac line now comes in 25 sizes, ranging from 205/55ZR16 91W to 265/30ZR19 93Y XL, including three 19-inch sizes.