The Exo Grappler AWT, on the other hand, is targeted at work truck owners whose day might involve the gravel and dirt environments of farms, oil fields and such. But, as Nitto pointed out, they, too, like to wash off the dust on the ole' buggy and take it on city streets. With the Exo, they get a dual-duty tire.
Some fast facts about the Exo Grappler AWT, according to Nitto:
• It offers “superior traction” in dirt, rock, gravel, snow and ice;
• The tire wears the three Peak Mountain Snowflake winter rating from the Rubber Manufacturers Association; and
• Its two unique sidewall designs let owners customize the look of their truck or SUV.
The tire features a new chip-resistant all-weather compound, three-ply sidewall construction, large, thick sidewall lugs and puncture resistance, the company said. Other Exo features include staggered shoulder blocks to provide increased traction in loose dirt while integrated stone ejectors reduce stone retention and drilling. Its three-ply sidewalls with large sidewall lugs add strength and guard against unwanted punctures, according to Nitto.
On pavement, the Exo's gear-shaped block edges work to reinforce the tread blocks and provide a more stable contact patch for better control. Computer-designed variable-pitch tread blocks reduce tire noise at highways speeds, the company said.
The tire also is capable of maintaining traction on snow and ice via a rubber compound that is a mix of natural rubber, high-strength polymers and wear-resistant materials that are durable and, according to Nitto, allow for traction in freezing temperatures. Specially designed sipes also help create better biting edges and water evacuation on icy surfaces while the tire's large lateral grooves help evacuate snow and slush.
The Exo also features molded stud holes that are compatible with TSMI #15-sized studs.
Stephen Leu, assistant manager, brand publishing-digital for Nitto, noted that while the G2 will be made both in Japan and in the White, Ga., passenger and light truck tire plant of Nitto Tire's parent company Toyo Tire North America Inc., the Exo will be “100-percent made in the U.S.” in the Georgia factory.
Nitto is not rolling out a specific dealer marketing package with the two tires' launch, according to Mr. Leu. The tire maker will provide material such as point-of-sale (POS) and tire inserts, he told Tire Business, and will continue its ongoing national training components on the retail and wholesale levels.
In addition to its independent retail dealers, Mr. Leu said national retailers that handle Nitto tires include Discount Tire and TBC Corp's Tire Kingdom, National Tire & Battery (NTB), Merchant's Tire and Big O Tires chains. American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc. and its Carroll Tire subsidiary distribute Nitto tires.
Nitto's all-terrain tires are “bread-and-butter” products for markets in states like California, Nevada, Texas and the panhandle of Florida, Mr. Leu noted.
“For stores that may not cater as much to off-road, that's where consumer education enters. We'll explain, through communication efforts, advertising, dealer training, POS, etc.,, and we'll get everyone well-equipped to sell these products.
“Flotation sizes and the new warranty are all selling points.”
Based on field development of the G2 and Exo, Mr. Leu said, “We like to listen to our customers and consumers…. Dealers and consumers were asking for a higher mileage warranty.”