With light trucks representing 60% of all vehicle sales, Federal Tires is investing in an emerging tire segment dedicated to weekend off-road warriors.
To introduce its new rough-terrain tire addressing this booming category, the company invited tire distributors, dealers and members of the media to a launch event at Big Bear Lake, California, to test out the new tire, the Xplora R/T.
Combining performance and aesthetics, the Xplora R/T answers the call for a tire that offers strong traction, quiet on-road manners and a rugged, mean look, said Steve Hutchinson, advisor to Federal Tires. Distributors and dealers experienced it for themselves driving a variety of light truck vehicles outfitted with Xplora R/Ts on two courses: an on-road drive on the winding roads of Big Bear Lake; and on an off-road course careening the dusty, rocky trails of the Holcomb Valley nestled in the mountains.
Hutchinson said the Xplora R/T, which took around four years to develop, is a hybrid design between an all-terrain and mud-terrain tire. Some of the tire’s features include:
- A linear, four-block tread design that enhances on-road stability for more predictable handling, ride comfort and reduced noise;
- A fatigue-resistant tread compound to protect the tire from cuts, chips and punctures;
- Open shoulder grooves that evacuate water, mud, dirt and off-road debris as well as contribute to the tire’s enhanced traction;
- Stone ejectors that prevent stone retention, premature wear and early tire failure.
Jamie Ma, chairman of Federal Tires, said each of the company’s tires has a unique story behind its shape and design. The Xplora R/T, for example, has center tread blocks that resemble asteroids from Star Wars as well as a stepping stone design in the tire’s shoulder area that’s reminiscent of the topography of the Grand Canyon.
“This tire is home run,” Ma said, citing the Xplora R/T’s performance features, aesthetics and pricing.
Ma and Hutchinson said the Xplora R/T will be priced 30% less than its competitors in the segment, allowing dealers to offer a competitively-priced product in the growing R/T segment that will help boost their profitability.
Demonstrating its commitment to the light truck segment, Ma and Hutchinson said the company has plans to fill out its light truck offerings in the Xplora line, as dictated by market demand. They said in the next one-and-a-half to two years, the Xplora line will consist of eight tires catering to various types of customers in the light truck segment.
The Xplora R/T is currently available in five sizes popular in the R/T segment ranging in 17- to 20-in. rim diameters, Hutchinson said. By the end of the first quarter of 2020, the Xplora R/T’s product line will consist of 17 sizes ranging from 15- to 20-in. rim diameters with the possibility of additional sizes as dictated by customer demand.