Even in the worst weather, the sub-freezing climate of Quebec, Canada, proved to be the best conditions to unveil Continental Tire the Americas’ newest winter tire: the General AltiMax Arctic 12.
Off the flurried slopes of Mont Tremblant, Continental’s General Tire brand hosted select dealers and media at a special tire launch event – plus guests experienced General Tire’s entire winter line during a ride ‘n’ drive at ICAR Mirabel.
The AltiMax Arctic 12 joins the Grabber Arctic and Grabber Arctic LT after three years of building a power line to cover the market for winter. Mostly manufactured in Europe, the new tire replaces the current AltiMax Arctic and fits passenger cars, minivans, crossovers and compact SUVs. The Grabber Arctic covers SUVs and light trucks, and the Grabber Arctic LT fits large pickups and vans.
“Our General Tire winter line has built a reputation among our dealer network and consumers as a solid winter tire option with impressive performance,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental. “The new General AltiMax Arctic 12 will continue to strengthen that reputation as it takes winter traction and handling to a new level.”
Building upon its predecessor’s capabilities, an innovative compound and tread pattern give the tire traction in low temperatures on wet, snow and/or ice conditions, Conti said.
The tire’s strong center rib structure within its tread design helps with steering response and dry handling, while high-void angled grooves on both sides of the tread help channel water away from the tire for added wet traction and hydroplaning resistance, the tiremaker adds.
Additionally, strategically angled tread blocks with serrated winter sipes help the tire’s grip when braking in all directions on snow and ice. Plus, the tire’s optimized contour design offers balanced pressure distribution.
“We have optimized the contour to give it a larger contact patch, which helps improve the traction,” said Joe Maher, product manager for Continental. “But it also gives it an 18% improvement in wear from its predecessor.”
The AltiMax Arctic 12 is available in 47 T-rated, XL load range sizes ranging from 14- to 19-inch wheel diameters – an improvement from its predecessor – with a Q speed rating and largest rim diameter at 17 inches.
“When we combine [the new AltiMax] with the Grabber Arctic with 15 sizes and the Grabber Arctic LT with 10 sizes, we have a total of 72 sizes in the market – really good market coverage for a winter tire lineup,” Maher notes. “So between those three lines, you really should be able to fit the majority of vehicles that come into your stores.”
Like the other General winter tires, the AltiMax Arctic 12 is also studdable. The tire is pinned for 11mm studs and the stud size is molded on the sidewall for convenience. Additionally, the tire boasts the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol for severe winter performance.
Testing on the Tundra
Media and dealers had the opportunity to drive on the new AltiMax and full General Tire winter line during a ride-and-drive event at ICAR Mirabel. The site of the old Mirabel airport, ICAR put away its Ferraris for vehicles shoed for a blizzard.
To test the AltiMax Arctic 12’s ice braking, General Tire created an Ice Driving Zone complete with a General Tire-branded Zamboni where drivers tested the tire’s stopping distance on a Ford Fusion. For rough ice braking and handling tests, a nearby course of slaloms, straightaways and turns was completed in a Ford Explorer.
A similar test was conducted at a snow-covered course in a Ford Focus to test the tire’s handling in snow. The snow course also featured a Ford Expedition fitted with Grabber Arctic tires.
Additionally, another snow-covered course with a mix of icy corners featured a heavy-duty Ford truck with Grabber Arctic LT tires.
For the enthusiast at heart, and to test the studded AltiMax Arctic 12, ICAR and General Tire created a rally car experience with plenty of iconic drifting in a Subaru WRX STI. Keeping with the theme of extreme performance, drivers also navigated a mini 4×4 trail in a Jeep Rubicon to test the tire’s off-road capabilities in winter weather.
Dealers can start placing orders for the AltiMax Arctic 12 now, with deliveries planned for July 2017. The tires also come with a 30-day customer trial period.