ORANGE, Va. — For most tire ride-and-drive events, speeding through autocross and slalom courses is a common way to test a tire's handling and drive characteristics.
When it comes to assessing the performance of mud terrain and off-road tires, however, slow and steady is often the preferred approach.
The latter was the case with Bridgestone Americas Inc.'s introduction of the Firestone Destination M/T2 tire — a product the company is counting on to increase the Firestone brand's share of the light truck tire market.
“This is an extremely important high-performance piece for truck tires in the premium category,” said Justin Reinke, director of brand marketing.
Bridgestone unveiled the tire — the successor to the 15-year-old Firestone Destination M/T — at a ride-and-drive event coordinated by Overland Experts for tire dealers and tire journalists May 8-11 on an 8,600 acre tract in Orange.
Attendees put the new tire to the test on trails that included creek beds, deep mud and rocks. They also compared the tire's performance with one of the leading products in the segment, the BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2.
The Destination M/T2 features a new tread compound and aggressive tread design for use in demanding off-road conditions, the company said. The target audience is owners of four-wheel-drive vehicles, pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
Bridgestone designed the M/T2 by focusing first on the needs of customers in this product category, Mr. Reinke said during a briefing prior to the ride-and-drive experience.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker has segmented tire consumers into eight categories. The Firestone customer slots into the category of “Work Hard/Play Hard,” which is 13 percent of tire consumers, Mr. Reinke said.