Goodyear Heads South for Winter Tire Rollout - Tire Review Magazine

Goodyear Heads South for Winter Tire Rollout

It was a balmy 89 degrees in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., yesterday when Goodyear introduced its new Ultra Grip Ice WRT to a select group of dealers and media.

No, that’s not a typo.

The tiremaker used the McKinley Climatic Laboratory, housed at Eglin Air Force Base, as the site for the rollout of its first dedicated winter tire for the SUV and light-truck vehicle segments. The lab, which opened in 1947, is the world’s largest environmental testing chamber (3.25 million cubic feet) and is used to test vehicles and equipment in a wide variety of extreme conditions: from an icy -65 degrees to a sweltering 165 degrees. The facility can also recreate fog, freezing rain, sand and dust storms, and – in the case of the Ultra Grip Ice WRT launch – snow.

Participants rode along with Goodyear test drivers in Ford F-250s fitted with Ultra Grip Ice WRTs to see how the tires performed in ice braking and acceleration, as well as acceleration and handling on snow. The constant temperature of 15 degrees inside the chamber provided a perfect proving ground for the tires, which were pitted against Bridgestone Blizzaks. The event also included a wet traction and handling exercise, held outdoors using Chevrolet Tahoes.
The Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT
The Ultra Grip Ice WRT offers Goodyear’s “Winter Reactive Technology,” a combination of features that work together to help provide a balance of starting, stopping and turning action in a variety of weather conditions, according to the tiremaker. The tire features 2- and 3-dimensional tread blades, a directional tread design, rim protector, optional studs and a winter grip compound. There are two distinct tread designs – one for light-truck applications, and one for SUV/crossover vehicle applications.

The Ultra Grip Ice WRT is available in 16 total sizes: 10 S-rated passenger sizes with standard load rating, and six L/T sizes with a Q speed rating and E load rating.

“We really focused on fitments for the key vehicles dealers see in their stores, so it’s a smart business choice for all of us,” said Silvana Valencic, brand manager of Goodyear high performance tires.

The winter tire segment in the U.S. and Canada has grown steadily the last several years, even during the recession. Within that segment, the L/T and SUV portion saw the largest growth, she added.

Goodyear will support the Ultra Grip Ice WRT with regional advertising online and in consumer magazines, as well as with POS displays and a consumer rebate that will begin this month in Canada and in October in the U.S.

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