Goodyear's New Aquatred 3 Stretches the Limit of the Name

More Than a Rain Tire: Goodyear’s New Aquatred 3 Stretches the Limit of the Name

Goodyear’s New Aquatred 3 Stretches the Limit of the Name

If the first generation Aquatred, introduced in 1991, was unlike any tire that came before, its third generation successor – Aquatred 3 ®“ is certainly unlike any Aquatred that came before.
In fact, Goodyear isn’t even sure the new radial, unveiled to the press and Goodyear dealer advisory council members at a ride-and-drive event in Colorado Springs, is really an Aquatred.
The new Aquatred 3 certainly doesn’t look like its late predecessors, taking more of a touring tire style and carrying an 80,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. Even though the Aquatred 3 delivers 18% better wet traction than the Aquatred II, according to Bob Toth, Goodyear marketing manager for passenger tires, the company considered giving the tire an entirely different name. In the end, Goodyear felt the tire’s wet pavement performance and the Aquatred heritage were its strong suits.
Featuring two circumferential channels instead of a single center channel, the Aquatred 3 has a 10% wider footprint and 7.6% greater channel volume, Toth said, delivering better overall wet and dry handing, and moving more water more effectively than the Aquatred II.
Compared to the Aquatred II, the new tire delivers 6% better dry traction, an 8% improvement in braking distance, 5% improved wet handling, and greater lateral grip in cornering, 0.71g vs. 0.65g.
John Clark, principal engineer for Goodyear, said the goal was not to create a better Aquatred, but to create a tire with greater overall performance. The resulting tire clearly outperformed the Aquatred II in all key wet and dry performance criteria – noise, traction, braking, handling and treadwear, he said.
The Aquatred 3 will carry a UTQG rating of 640 AA, the highest UTQG-rated Goodyear tire ever, according to the company. The T-rated tire will initially be available in eighteen 60-, 65- and 70-series sizes in a range of 14- through 16-inch wheel diameters.
While there are no light truck/SUV specific sizes available, Toth said a number of the P-metric sizes will fit small and mid-size pick-ups and SUVs. Marco Molinari, vice president of sales and marketing for North American Tire, said within the next 12 months Goodyear plans to introduce a wet traction-oriented tire for the LT-metric market.
Aquatred 3 will be positioned as an elite product, priced 10% above Goodyear’s premium tires, according to Toth, and completes the company’s revision of its radial passenger line-up.
Goodyear will heavily promote Aquatred 3, especially with national television advertising during the upcoming 2000 Olympic Games. Goodyear has become a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team, and will leverage that relationship on behalf of the new tire.
Unlike past Aquatred promotional efforts, marketing of the Aquatred 3 will not focus solely on wet traction. “The tire has capabilities beyond wet traction, and those capabilities are applicable to areas of the country that don’t get a lot of rain,” said Molinari.
Dealer and media reaction to Aquatred 3 appeared to be quite positive during the two-day introduction program. The event included a three-hour drive over a variety of road surfaces to test handling and responsiveness, and a half-day at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The racetrack hosted wet braking tests and a specially designed wet/dry autocross course.
The Aquatred 3 lived up to its billing as driver after driver hammered the tires on the tight wet/dry autocross course, comparing its performance to the Aquatred II. The tire provided noticeably better wet traction than the Aquatred II, especially in transition areas between wet and dry pavement, and provided a comfortable, solid ride on public roads.®′

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