While the Goodyear and Dunlop brands may have gotten the majority of Goodyear's attention during the past year, the tire maker is beginning to enhance its Kelly-brand lineup as well.
At its 2005 dealer conference Jan. 31 in Grapevine, Goodyear unveiled two additions to the Kelly stable: the Kelly Safari Trex, an all-terrain light truck and sport-utility vehicle tire; and the Evo-Z, a value-priced, Z-speed-rated ultra-high-performance tire.
The introduction of the Safari Trex is in response to dealer requests for a ``go-to tire with consumer appeal,'' Jack Winterton, vice president of consumer sales, told the more than 1,600 tire dealers in attendance.
As the successor to the Safari AWR, the Safari Trex provides equal to or better performance than the tire it replaces but is far superior in terms of noise and comfort, the company said.
That's due to a technology called VersaTred, which provides off-road traction capabilities with a tread face that delivers a quiet, comfortable ride.
To provide a secure fit to the rim, the Safari Trex features advanced design and manufacturing in the bead area, Goodyear said. It also employs a design element in the tread that delivers extra protection against stones being lodged in tread grooves.
Goodyear is offering a 30-day test ride program on the Safari Trex that provides a free replacement if a purchaser is not satisfied with the tire. The tire also carries a 50,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. It will be available starting in February, initially in 32 sizes.
Kelly dealers also told Goodyear they needed an ultra-high-performance tire, Mr. Winterton said. ``Our dealers told us they were filling in with other brands to meet this growing consumer segment.''
To address this request, Goodyear has introduced the Evo-Z, Kelly's first full-fledged entry in the Z-speed-rated category.
The tire features a European design optimized for North America. ``We have targeted the drivers who are looking for ultra performance in a Z-rated tire but also want longer treadlife, strong wet and dry traction and a reasonable price,'' said Brandon Stotsenburg, director of Kelly brands consumer marketing.
The Evo-Z has a low-profile design, wide footprint and a directional tread optimized for even wear. Its construction includes spirally wound nylon cap plies and a high-performance tread compound.
Goodyear is offering the Evo-Z in 21 sizes initially through Kelly retailers, with most sizes already available in February and the remainder in March. Dealers handling the Lee and Star brands will be offering the new tire beginning in the second quarter.
Prior to the dealer conference, Goodyear introduced a new Dunlop passenger tire and a new ``tuner'' size version of its Dunlop Grandtrek PT9000 aimed at the luxury sport truck market.
The new 22-inch addition to the Dunlop Grandtrek PT9000 line comes in size 305/40R22. The tire is H-rated for speeds up to 130 mph and has a wide tread modified to maintain the deep-water performance of narrower sport truck tires, according to Dunlop engineer Chris Raglin.
He said large outer tread blocks and high-angle, open shoulder grooves provide responsive and stable cornering. Other versions of the Grandtrek PT9000 are specified as standard equipment on high-end European performance vehicles.
The new Grandtrek PT9000 features a directional, high-speed tread pattern design. Dunlop also carries the PT9000 in sizes 255/50R20 and 275/40R20.
Goodyear also launched the Dunlop SP60-a high-volume, all-season passenger tire. This model replaces the SP40 and will be available in 27 sizes.
Goodyear said the tire features ``Traction Web,'' a pattern of web-like blocks and grooves that enhances traction for wet, dry and situational handling. Large shoulder blocks and a multi-pitch tread are designed for long tread life and a quiet, comfortable ride.