As the growing popularity of CUVs, SUVs and trucks ripples through the tire and automotive industries, Bridgestone Americas is seeing an evolution in touring and highway tires and is creating products to adapt to the trends. At Bridgestone’s 2021 Core Tire Business Meeting last week, Will Robbins, director of consumer product strategy, and Jeff Cook, executive director of product strategy and portfolio planning, gave dealers a sneak peek at some of those products that will be released in 2022.
One of those in the touring category is Bridgestone’s WeatherPeak next-generation all-season tire that will come in 56 sizes with up to 20-in. rim diameters. After the success of the Firestone WeatherGrip, an all-weather touring product launched in 2019, Bridgestone said it wanted to expand the tire’s technology and take it to a new level in the WeatherPeak.
“There’s definitely been an evolution in the touring segment – We’re talking about major performance enhancements in all-season capability. Many new products are capable of achieving the three peak mountain snowflake certification,” Cook said.
Next, Cook and Robbins introduced Bridgetone’s next-generation run-flat, the Bridgestone DriveGuard Plus. Combining Bridgestone’s latest touring tire technology and its run-flat technology, the tire will feature a new construction and advanced tread pattern for increased wet and snow performance. It will hold up to Bridgetone’s 50 miles at 50 mph promise as part of its run-flat technology, Robbins said. Available in 2022, the DriveGuard Plus will come in 27 sizes ranging from 16- to 19-in. rim diameters covering sedans, minivans and SUVs.
Finally, Cook and Robbins showed off the Firestone Firehawk AS V2. Building off the performance and value of the original Firehawk all-season, Robbins said the team turned to its racing tire development team, who is at the track every weekend, to add adjustments to the tire that would allow it to better confront challenging conditions.
The Firehawk AS V2 will be available next year in 34 sizes from 17- to 20-in. rim diameters with fitments for sedans, sport sedans and sports cars, Robbins said.
Cook told dealers that the company’s new consumer tire products for 2022 are a “testament to how much thinking and passion goes into our products.”
“I hope it’s clear to you that we are continually looking ahead of industry trends, updating size lineups and leveraging the latest technologies to help you serve your customers better every single day.”
Commercial Tires & Retreads
Chris Ripani, president of Bridgestone Americas’ commercial truck group, also gave dealers a sneak peek at the products coming down the pipe in 2022, which include three new Bridgestone commercial tires, two Firestone commercial products and two new Bandag retread products.
Ripani said the new Bridgestone commercial tires include the R192E, an all-position bus and electric vehicle tire with load capacity improvements and low rolling resistance. Ripani added that the company will also launch the M771 Ecopia, an open-shoulder drive tire with 3D siping that’s SmartWay verified. To round out the new Bridgestone truck tires for next year, Ripani said the company will debut the M863, an all-position mixed-service tire with an optimized pattern compared to its predecessor, the M853. The M863 will replace the M853, M843, M840 and M857.
On the Firestone commercial side, Ripani announced the FS561A, a regional all-position SmartWay-verified tire and the new FD694, a new long haul and regional drive tire with wear improvement compared to the Firestone FD690 Plus.
Lastly, Ripani reviewed the retreads that Bandag will introduce in 2022. Those include: the B713 retread, a complement to the Bridgestone M713 Ecopia drive radial designed for tandem-axle applications in long-haul and regional service; and the BDR-W2, which Ripani said is a retread with winter weather performance that feature wear improvements without compromising traction.