Nitto Tire USA said it is shattering expectations with its newly-released Motivo all-season UHP tire.
First unveiled at the 2011 Global Tire Expo/SEMA Show, the tiremaker touts the Motivo as offering excellent wet and dry handling and braking capabilities. But what Nitto is most proud of is the tire’s unprecedented 60,000-mile limited treadwear warranty – the highest warranty available in the all-season UHP segment, according to Alan Ngo, Nitto staff engineer, who added this makes the Motivo an “exceptional value.”
The tiremaker began rolling out sizes at the end of 2011, and the Motivo’s total 50-size lineup will be available by the end of May. The 560AA UTQG-rated tire will cover wheel diameters of 17 to 20 inches and be offered in W- and Y-speed-rated sizes. All Motivo tires for distribution in the U.S. will be produced at parent company Toyo Tire USACorp.’s facility in White, Ga.
The Motivo, designed for sedans, sports coupes and CUVs, fills a former gap in the tiremaker’s product screen, according to Ngo. “We never truly had an all-season UHP tire,” he said. “Since we seek feedback and recommendations from dealers when developing new tires, we learned this was a gap we could fill and we developed the product accordingly.”
At the end of February, Nitto invited select media and dealers to attend a formal launch event in Scottsdale, Ariz., to experience the Motivo’s capabilities first-hand. During the ride-and-drive, participants tested the tire in dry and wet handling and braking exercises.
Fitted to Jaguar XFs, Nitto gave participants the opportunity to compare the Motivo with the tiremaker’s NT05 maximum performance summer tire, Invo summer UHP tire, and the OE all-season tire that comes on the car, the Continental ContiProContact.
“The Motivo is geared toward modern sedans, sports coupes and CUVs – basically, vehicles that come with UHP tires as original equipment,” Ngo said. “It’s designed to be a direct replacement for when drivers are ready to replace the tires that came on their car.”
In addition to the education regarding the differences between the various types of tires, Nitto used the event to offer more details on the Motivo’s performance characteristics.
The tire’s asymmetric tread pattern is optimized to minimize road noise for a quiet ride, while also allowing the tires to be rotated front-to-back and side-to-side, except for in the case of a staggered fitment, according to Ngo. This cross-rotation contributes to the Motivo’s longevity, he added.
The exterior tread features larger blocks for stability and enhanced dry and cornering performance; the interior pattern features smaller, angled tread blocks to offer flexibility for enhanced grip and handling in winter and wet conditions, Nitto said.
A solid center rib provides straight-line stability, while “fin” sipes provide an additional number of biting edges for added traction in winter and wet conditions. “3-D multi-wave sipes” keep tread blocks rigid during cornering and braking for better performance and an even contact patch – resulting in more even wear and a quieter ride, Ngo said.
He added that the tire’s compound is silica-reinforced to achieve longer mileage, hence the 60,000-mile warranty. For vehicles with staggered fitments, for which cross-rotation is not possible, the Motivo offers a 30,000-mile rear axle treadwear warranty, Ngo clarified.
The Motivo also features alignment indicators – a series of three dots molded at different tread depths to track the wear progression of each tire. The tire has an indicator on each side so drivers can see if one side wears faster than the other and take corrective action, Ngo said.
Feedback and Marketing
Representatives from Discount Tire’s mail order division who attended the event offered some insight to Nitto’s popularity and the performance of its products. According to Dan Meadows, Nitto has long been one of the top three lines sold by the company, aside from the major brands.
“Nitto tires make up a significant portion of the mail order side. We’ve carried their products for about 15 years, and every year Nitto’s business with us has grown,” he said.
“Nitto really understands what it is consumers are looking for – with the Motivo, they did a lot of research to determine what exactly was needed in the market: a high performance tire that offers great mileage.”
Chad Emehiser, also with Discount Tire, said, “What makes Nitto unique is that they seek out and actually use information from consumers to dealers, from grassroots all the way up. And because of that, there are consumers out there who specifically look for a Nitto product.”
That brand loyalty is key to Nitto’s activities, according to the tiremaker. “Our fans truly are our brand ambassadors. They tell their family and friends, creating exponential growth. That growth is evident in our social media campaigns,” Ngo said.
“Brand loyalty is instrumental to our success and is one of our core values,” he added.
In keeping with Nitto’s affinity for digital marketing, the tiremaker has set up a Motivo-focused microsite – experiencemotivo.com – that features video footage from the launch event, product information, a community forum, fan giveaways and a tire dealer locator.
“We’re using a multifaceted communication plan for the Motivo,” Nitto explained. “We’ll use websites, social media, dealer training events and web interactives throughout the rollout of all the sizes.”
Click here to view more exclusive photos from this event.
This article appeared in the April 2012 edition of Tire Review. You can read the entire issue on your phone or tablet by downloading the Tire Review app.