FORT WORTH, Texas — In a state where everything seems bigger, the Firestone brand hit the ginormous stage this week as Bridgestone Americas Inc. rolled out three products that promise to redefine the brand known for its dependability and durability.
The rollout — held the week of May 13-17 at Texas Motor Speedway, site of the DXC Technology 600 IndyCar Series Race in early June — includes a product new for Firestone in the burgeoning all-weather category, the Firestone WeatherGrip, which is Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake certified and designed for control in wet and snowy conditions.
The other three products unveiled were:
- Firestone Destination A/T2, designed for pickup trucks, SUVS and all-terrain vehicles;
- Firestone Destination X/T, designed for heavier-duty light-truck applications, including off-road; and
- Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack, the newest addition to the Turanza touring tire portfolio.
The two all-terrain Firestone offerings also have the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake designation, while the Turanza was designed as an aftermarket fitment, targeted for sedans model year 2010 and older. All four lines fall under Bridgestone's 90-day guarantee, which allows unsatisfied consumers to return or exchange the tires during that period.
Dealers, media and Bridgestone team members alike tested the tires during five modules of activities, including wet braking and handling of all four tires and on- and off-road performance of the two Destination offerings.
The tire rollouts were a "huge step" for the Firestone brand, according to Robert Saul, director of consumer tire product strategy, U.S. and Canada, for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO). The WeatherGrip fills a key void in the Firestone lineup, according to Bridgestone officials.
"We've been on a wave of product upgrades, and the Firestone brand has benefited greatly from this because a lot of the tires that we have been selling successfully there for a long time have been on a rather long life cycles," Mr. Saul said.
"So over the last several years, there's been a lot of fresh, new product coming into the Firestone brand, and we've literally turned over almost the whole brand in the last three years, which a big undertaking. It just shows our commitment to how important Firestone is to us."
The WeatherGrip features Firestone's Hydro-Grip technology package, while the directional tread pattern was designed with full-depth grooves and open shoulder slots for enhanced water evacuation.
Mr. Saul said the product's rounded footprint allows it to cut through water to help reduce the risk of hydroplaning.
Erik Seidel, president, BATO's consumer replacement tire sales, U.S. and Canada, said drivers are seeking "durable, dependable tires that work hard and keep them in control in every driving season."
He said the WeatherGrip, which has a 65,000-mile limited warranty, provides "enhanced grip in wet and winter conditions, so drivers can confidently take on any forecast."
The product also has TractionTech, a new technology package that Firestone said leverages a full-depth tread design and interlocking sipes to ensure wet and snow performance.
The WeatherGrip is available in 33 sizes ranging from 195/65R15 to 235/55R19 covering fitments for 60-plus percent of sedans and CUVs on the road. Bridgestone did not disclose pricing information at this time.
The Destination A/T2 and Destination X/T will be available in August.
Mr. Seidel said the tires meet consumer expectations for a "versatile" product with "uncompromising" quality.
"We designed the Firestone Destination A/T2 and Firestone Destination X/T tires to offer the best of both worlds," he said. "These tires are tough enough to tackle the most challenging terrain while still providing a comfortable, quiet ride for frequent highway trips."
The A/T2 has a new tread compound and aggressive tread design with stone rejecter technology, providing traction in gravel and dirt. The tire's full depth tread grooves cut through wet and snowy conditions. It offers a 55,000-mile limited mileage warranty and will be available in 29 sizes.
The heavier Destination X/T tire features many of the same technologies as the A/T2 tire, but with heavy-duty toughness. The X/T has a specially designed tread rubber compound for durable on and off-road performance.
It has a 50,000-mile limited treadwear warranty and will launch in 25 sizes, with more sizes to follow in 2020.
- Mr. Saul said he's heard some positive feedback from those who tested the products.
- "By and large, the message that we're trying to deliver is the Destinations are really performing well off road, but also providing good on-road characteristics," Mr. Saul said. "Most of the drivers are feeling that difference. So far, so good."
The fourth offering, the Bridgestone Turanza Quiet Track, offers 20% improved traction in wet conditions and 44% improved traction in snowy conditions compared to the Turanza Serenity Plus, which the tire replaces in the Bridgestone portfolio.
Mr. Seidel lauded the tire's technology as well as its responsiveness to consumers' demands for better winter wear and performance.
"The Turanza QuietTrack tire exceeds expectations in each of these important attributes, while also providing a comfortable, quiet ride," he said.
The Turanza QuietTrack tire has an 80,000-mile limited mileage warranty and capitalizes on four technologies:
- QuietTrack Technology — a noise-damping technology exclusive to Bridgestone that is tuned to prevent high frequency noise and ensure a quieter ride;
- ComfortCruise Technology — which leverages a rounded contact patch and optimized tire casing shape to reduce road vibration for a smoother, more comfortable driving experience, Bridgestone said;
- HydroTrack Technology — full-depth tread grooves and open shoulder slots that help enhance water evacuation and reduce the risk of hydroplaning; and
- EdgePerformance Technology — a full-depth tread design that the tire maker said ensures the Turanza QuietTrack maintains performance during its life span.