For some people, the weekend means getting off the main road and heading for adventure. From hiking and biking to camping and fishing, these customers need a tire that can get them there, according to Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which has launched a new tire for these weekend warriors.
The Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar, introduced last month at a dealer and media ride-and-drive, is designed for customers who need both on- and off-road performance from their light truck/SUV tires.
“[These customers] have an active lifestyle. They might commute a lot during the week…but they really live for the weekend and want to get off-road,” said Sara Vacha, Goodyear all-terrain brand manager. “This tire helps them to go off-road at a moment’s notice.”
The tire is designed for customers who do roughly 80% of their driving on the highway and 20% off-road, Vacha noted. This need for on-road performance is a key factor for a customer to choose the All-Terrain over Goodyear’s Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar, an even more durable off-road tire with three layers of Kevlar, the tiremaker said.
Goodyear showcased the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure to several dealers and key members of the media at a launch in Colorado Springs, Colo., in late July. Those in attendance got to test the tire off-road while driving various SUVs and trucks, including the Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, as well as the Dodge Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado. The course wound its way up the side of the mountain, allowing the tires to be tested on dirt and loose gravel.
Additionally, there was a wet/dry track test in which attendees compared the new Wrangler with the Michelin LTX A/T2. The course, which was set up in a parking lot with several sharp turns on both wet and dry surfaces, was designed to showcase the All-Terrain Adventure’s handling on wet surfaces, Goodyear said. Both on- and off-road, the tires were extremely quiet. Additionally, many dealers on the trip noted that during the wet/dry test, they could feel a difference between the two tires tested.
Goodyear officials believe the inclusion of Kevlar in the tire is one of the major draws for consumers. The company has an exclusive agreement with DuPont to be the sole tire manufacturer to use the material in its tires and use Kevlar in its marketing, Goodyear said. The tiremaker performed customer studies, which found that using the word Kevlar “resonates” with consumers who are looking to purchase all-terrain tires, Goodyear said, adding that Kevlar gives consumers a strong reason to believe the tire will perform.
“People say, ‘Wow, you have Kevlar,’ and it helps us promote the ruggedness and durability of the product,” said Marc Nowacki, light truck/SUV technical project manager at Goodyear. “So, that helps catch their eye and lets us talk about it.”
The all-new tread pattern for the new Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure promotes a quiet ride and performance on all road types, Good- year said. The tire features open shoulder blocks in the tread that self-clean – removing rocks, snow and mud and enhancing off-road traction. Special biting edges and rubber compound also assist with traction on wet and icy roads, the tiremaker said. Goodyear’s Durawall Technology and the layer of Kevlar contribute to the toughness and durability of the tire. The Durawall Technology, which utilizes specially formulated rubber, resists cuts, chucking and tearing, Goodyear said.
The tiremaker said the tire offers 20% more tread life than its other Wrangler tires; standard load and LT-metric sizes carry a 60,000-mile tread life warranty. The All-Terrain Adventure will be offered in 44 total sizes, both LT- and P-metric, including 20 sizes with designated “pro-grade” fitments. The sizes should cover roughly 86% of the market, the tiremaker noted.
All LT-metric fitments fall into the “pro-grade category.” These Load Range E tires feature two layers of Kevlar and heavy-duty steel belts, with 30% more steel, and are for three-quarter- or one-ton light trucks. The tires are equipped with an enhanced tread compound that is even more chip and chunk resistant than the standard tire. Additionally, “pro-grade” tires feature the severe snow conditions symbol, making them true four-season tires, Goodyear said. The company added it chose to not pursue earning the “snowflake” winter tire designation for all versions of the tire due to consumer needs.
“The P-metrics tend to be on vehicles with a little more on-road performance. They need a little more wet performance, so we chose to focus on the wet performance on the standard load tires,” Nowacki said. “The pro-grade sizes, LT-metric sizes, they need a little more chip and chunk resistance. They have a lot more diverse load and inflation conditions, so we wanted to address those needs, as well. We found it a good break point between the P-metric and LT-metric. The LT-metrics have deeper tread to help with tread life and earn the snow flake certification, as well.”
Many tire sizes already have shipped, Goodyear said, adding that the full 44-size lineup will be available by September.
Goodyear hinted that the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure, which has been made as an OE fitment, might be featured on new models as soon as next year.
“[OE is an] important part of our strategy because it’s a way for consumers to trial test the tires,” Vacha said. “There’s a lot of research that consumers do in their purchase process when they’re in the market for tires and we know that OE fitments help influence them. Roughly 50% look to the OE tire, if they had a good experience, to help inform what the next purchase should be.”
Goodyear plans to target customers – both in the market for new tires and not – with its advertising. The company will launch television spots, both U.S. and Canadian, in support of the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure starting in September. Additional marketing for the tire includes retail promotions, as well as digital and print ads. Goodyear tire dealers also can expect support and training materials, including a launch kit, to arrive in August or September, Vacha said.