LOUISVILLE, Ky.Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) is gearing up for the start of production next year of its truck tire plant in West Point, Miss., by launching new products and programs for its commercial tire dealer base.
That's according to Rick Phillips, Yokohama senior director, commercial and OTR sales, speaking to Tire Business at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.
On the training front, YTC has developed a version of its EXCEED online training program for commercial vehicle tire dealers that offers dealers and their personnel the opportunity to learn commercial tire basics through a series of interactive training modules.
The program, based on Yokohama's EXCEEDExcellence through Certification & Educationfor consumer dealers, covers basics on everything from steer and all-position to on- and off-highway tires and is designed to prioritize training that is most relevant for each dealer's markets, according to Alan Holtschneider, senior manager, marketing communications.
Features of the commercial version include an easy-to-use navigation; commercial tireology section and selling skills module and YTC e-STORE reward points for completed modules.
Yokohama previewed the program alongside a trio of new commercial tiresthe 902L and 709L ultra-wide-base drive tires and the 104ZR Spec-2 coach/bus tire. These products, according to Mr. Phillips, ...will play a big part in our future, especially with the October 2015 opening of our new commercial tire plant in Mississippi.
The 902L long-haul/regional drive tire, which will be available in size 445/50R22.5, is designed to deliver superior traction and high mileage, the company said. Features include a 27/32nd-inch tread depth for traction and extra-long tread life; an advanced rubber compound for lower rolling resistance and reduced heat build-up; seven circumferential grooves; a zero-degree mid belt to provide even pressure and weight distribution; and a specially designed small block and sipe combination for reduced heel-toe wear, increased fuel economy and high snow traction.
The 709L on-highway drive tire will be available by year-end in size 445/50R22.5. Features of the tire include seven serpentine grooves for reduced tread movement, rigidity and better rolling resistance; double Z blocks designed to increase rigidity for heel-toe wear prevention; a 24/32-inch tread depth; and a zero-degree mid belt for even pressure and weight distribution, Yokohama said.
Lastly, the 104ZR Spec-2 all-position tire, which will be available in size 315/80R22.5, is a workhorse that delivers longer treadwear, low-rolling resistance and enhanced traction, making it ideal for coach and regional/long-haul tour bus applications, Mr. Phillips said.
The tire includes a five-rib, full-depth tread pattern that Yokohama said delivers a smooth, quiet ride; serpentine groove pattern designed to reduce premature shoulder step-down and irregular wear; block-shaped stone ejectors; and an ultra-wide top steel belt that increases rigidity across the entire tread surface.
Separately, company executives said contractors have started erecting the steel framework for the plant in West Point, keeping the project on schedule for the start of commercial-scale production by October 2015.