Goodyear & Michelin Betting on Success With Assurance and X-Ice
Hailed as the company’s "most important new product" since it launched the original Aquatred line over a decade ago, Goodyear unveiled its much-anticipated new line of passenger tires, known as Assurance, the day before its annual dealer meeting in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month. In fact, the new Assurance line will replace the Aquatred 3, launched just three years ago.
Two tires make up the new Assurance line: Goodyear Assurance featuring ComforTred technology, and the Assurance featuring TripleTred technology. Both will be available this spring.
The ComforTred tire, targeted at the premium luxury vehicle market, is built with a "super-absorbent layer" between the tread and belt that officials said provides 20% more cushioning than a standard tire. "It’s the ultimate luxury tire for a smooth, quiet comfortable ride," said Andy Traicoff, Goodyear general marketing manager. Assurance ComforTred’s 20 sizes will be available in March.
The other tire, Assurance TripleTred, focuses on the luxury and mid-value segments and features three tread zones ®“ for water, ice and dry ®“ containing radically different tread patterns and compounds. The center of the tread, the ice zone, is an interlocking tread pattern with a compound of rubber, glass fibers and volcanic sand, which officials said aids in gripping slick roads.
The water zone has "aquachutes" that propel water away from the tire face. And, the dry zone is built with reinforced shoulders for maneuvering around curves and unexpected road conditions on dry pavement. The Assurance TripleTred’s 13 sizes are slated to appear in retail outlets in April, and more will be rolled out later in 2004.
Both tires contain a PermaBlack compound additive, which maintains a new-tire look throughout the life of the tire.
Both tires also carry an 80,000-mile limited treadwear warranty, and buyers receive a 30-day, no-risk trial period.
Michelin Launches X-Ice to Tackle Global Winter Driving
If you’re going to introduce a new winter tire line, there’s no better place than where there is plenty of snow and ice. That was the case when Michelin North America hosted the global launch of the new Michelin X-Ice and Latitude X-Ice winter lines during a special media event in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, about 110 miles northwest of Montreal.
The new Michelin X-Ice (for cars and minivans) and Latitude X-Ice (for trucks, SUVs and fill-sized vans) will replace Michelin’s various Arctic Alpin winter tire lines worldwide for next winter.
Michelin officials said the new line targets consumers in snowy regions of North America, Nordic countries in Europe and the northern regions of Japan and China.
Designed to improve braking, traction and handling in snowy and icy conditions, both the X-Ice and Latitude X-Ice feature the tiremaker’s "latest generation rubber compound and siping technologies," according to Michelin officials.
The X-Ice will be available by August in 39 sizes, covering 13- through 17-inch wheel diameters. The Latitude X-Ice ®“ Latitude is Michelin’s new global line name for all light truck/SUV tires ®“ will be available in 10 different 15- and 16-inch sizes. Forty-five sizes will be produced in Japan; the other four will be produced in France.
Nearly identical, save for sidewall designs, the tires feature tread technology that "allows the unique rubber compound (which also features silica) to progressively soften at the road’s surface, while remaining rigid near the tire belt, thus providing intense grip and superior handling," said the company.
Michelin officials said that, in typical service, consumers should be able to get three winters out of a set of X-Ice tires.
The tread pattern features a dense pattern of Z-shaped sipes and longitudinal zig-zag grooves for traction, braking and handling, and casing technology that produces a square contact patch for "extra traction and control on ice and hard-packed snow" and enhances tread life, according to Michelin. The directional V-shaped tread and circumferential center groove provides hydroplaning resistance.
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