LAS VEGASBridgestone Americas has rolled out two additions to its Potenza high-performance line plus an all-season Dueler for crossover vehicles and a Blizzak winter tire for European luxury sedans.
The tire maker introduced the four tires recently in Las Vegas during a Your Time to Perform ride-and-drive event for dealers and the automotive and tire media. Bridgestone previewed the tires last October at its Affiliated Retailer national convention in Nashville, Tenn., where the company is based.
It's an exciting time for us, said Robert Saul, manager of product planning at Bridgestone. We've been working on these things for years, and we finally get a chance to share them with you.
The new Potenza models are the RE97AS, targeted at enthusiast and social drivers, and RE-11A, an evolution of the RE-11 featuring improved grip and durability. Both began shipping in March, Bridgestone said.
The RE97AS is being marketed with the tagline, Performance and Touringget the best of both worlds. It is available in V- and W-rated versions in 25 sizes ranging from 16 to 19 inches in rim diameters.
Bridgestone offers limited treadwear warranties of 55,000 miles on V-rated models and 45,000 miles on the W-rated tires. The new tire replaces the Potenza G019 and is targeted at owners of performance sedans such as the Acura TL, Mazda 6 and Nissan Maxima, according to the tire maker.
Predictions tell us that within five years, four out of every five tires we put on a passenger car are going to be some form of a touring or performance tire, Mr. Saul said.
He said that is important since the RE97AS blends both the performance and touring worlds because Bridgestone saw a need for a tire that does a little bit of both.
Bridgestone said features of the RE97AS are its silica content, circumferential grooves, finely tuned tread pattern, stiffened shoulder blocks and optimized footprint. The RE97AS is also considered an eco-product, with improved rolling resistance that helps increase fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions, conserves resources with reduced tire weight and utilizes non-aromatic oils and other environmentally-conscious materials, the company said.
The Potenza RE-11A maintains the tread design of the RE-11, while an enhanced tread compound yields more gripfor faster lap times, higher speeds on the track and improved braking and corneringwhile maintaining durability, Bridgestone said. The RE-11A comes in 10 V- and W-rated sizes in wheel diameters ranging from 15 to 18 inches.
Bridgestone said the RE-11A targets a pretty small segment of vehicles whose owners will drive that car back and forth to work during the week and then on the weekend, they are going to leave the public road and either take the car to a race track or take the car to a parking lot auto cross and they're going to do fun stuff with it they can't do on a public street.
This tire's features include a new tread compound to improve grip and provide high heat resistance, Bridgestone said, along with large outside shoulder blocks and asymmetric shape to improve cornering performance and stealth block design to enhance water evacuation.
Another tire targeted at enthusiasts, the Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS for crossover vehicles, began shipping April 1 in 10 sizes in a 17- to 20-inch diameter range.
Rod Hutchinson, product manager, U.S. and Canada consumer tire sales division for Bridgestone, said in the past five to 10 years, the CUV has been coming into prominence and replacing SUVs.
In response to that, he said consumers are looking for a tire that would be appropriate for handling that type of sporty ride and that the Dueler H/P Sport AS is able to give them that kind of response of handling they're looking for from their vehicle.
Bridgestone said features include a high-silica compound to improve traction in wet conditions, high-angle slots to enhance water evacuation, circumferential grooves, high stiffness closed shoulder to enhance performance cornering and handling, and full tread depth to provide consistent, all-season performance.
The Dueler H/P Sport AS is also an eco-product, with low rolling resistance and reduced tire weightcompared with Bridgestone's other CUV and SUV tire lines. It uses environmentally conscious materials, the company said, such as non-aromatic oils and/or recycled materials.
Bridgestone said the Dueler H/P Sport AS is H-, V- and W-speed rated and has a 40,000-mile limited treadwear warranty.
The new winter tire, the Blizzak LM-32, will come in 33 sizes in 16- to 20-inch rim diameters and is V- and W-speed rated.
Bridgestone said the features include a directional tread pattern, high sipe density pattern and long transversal grooves for grip, along with large shoulder blocks to help with cornering and handling.
This is a very premium product, Bridgestone said. This particular Blizzak is all about preserving the performance of that vehicle even when it's not snowing.
It will be available starting in July.
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