As the light truck segment has grown, customers are asking for a variety of performance characteristics from their tires. Some want to be able to carry heavy loads as well as drive off-road. Others are your “weekend warrior” types that use their car for their commute during the week but seek adventure on the weekends. Nokian Tyres is recognizing this split affecting the all-terrain tire segment with the launch of two unique tires: The Nokian Outpost AT and Outpost APT.
“The Outpost AT is forged to make work productive and leisure time limitless for drivers of large SUVs and light trucks,” said Steve Bourassa, director of product and pricing for Nokian Tyres, during a virtual launch event Jan. 12. “The Outpost APT is an all-purpose terrain tire, versatile enough to let drivers of SUVs, crossovers and small light trucks thrive in all conditions from weekend getaways to the daily grind.”
Both tires, which carry a three-peak mountain snowflake rating, were tested in the frigid cold of Nokian’s “White Hell” in Ivalo, Finland, northern British Columbia in Canada and all throughout the U.S., Bourassa said. The APT, built exclusively for North American roads, marks a debut into a new segment for Nokian that some manufacturers have dubbed the “Trail” segment, a lighter version of an AT tire geared toward smaller light trucks, CUVs and SUVs.
“We see it as an absolutely growing segment out there with a lot of growth potential, especially with the type of audience and consumer that we’ve been working with for years and are drawn to our Hakkapeliitta [winter tire] products,” Bourassa said.
Hans Dhyrman, director of marketing, added that the company expects its Outpost AT line to have a similar “cult following” to its Hakkapeliitta line.
“The Outpost AT line is a passion product for consumers and drivers,” Dhyrman said. “The AT and APT style of customer is just as passionate about their vehicles and tires as that winter tire enthusiast.”
The Nokian Outpost APT
As Nokian’s first all-purpose terrain tire, the Outpost APT is exclusively available in North America and comes in 34 sizes from 16-20 inches.
The tire features an all-weather, asymmetrical tread design with large grooves that promote water evacuation and help prevent hydroplaning, Bourassa said. Its rugged construction provides durability for rough roads and features Gravel Guards in the circumferential grooves that carve through road hazards and help protect the tire’s steel belt package against stone drilling and damage. The tire also features zig-zag 3-D sipes to stabilize tread blocks and aid in acceleration and braking in the shoulder area. An enhanced silica compound adds to the tire’s high mileage, Bourasa said.
The APT, which features a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty, is also made with puncture-resistant Aramid sidewalls, made of Aramid fibers found in bulletproof vests, that improve the tire’s durability, Bourassa said. Included as a feature for consumers to impact the overall look of their vehicle, the APT features a dual sidewall design, with one sidewall that has a more conventional, smooth look and the other with a more aggressive feel.
“The quintessential APT driver is complete with a light bar, bike rack, custom wheels and a little plus sized,” Bourassa said about the upgrades this adventure-seeker customer may have on their vehicle. “We see tremendous growth and opportunity being near the forefront of this still emerging segment.”
The Nokain Outpost AT
The Outpost AT, which replaces its predecessor the Rotiiva AT, provides on- and off-road drivers of large SUVs and pickups with durable driving in all conditions. The tire is being launched globally but comes in 64 fitments for the North American market covering a size range of 15-22 inches, with LT-metric and P-metric versions.
Both tires in the Outpost line come with similar Nokain technologies – Aramid sidewalls and Gravel Guards that boost the tire’s durability as well as 3D siping that enhances grip in rain, slush and snow conditions. However, the Outpost AT additionally features:
- An Aramid Shield, Aramid fibers embedded beneath the tread to provide resistance to road hazards;
- Summit Sidewalls, peaks at the top of the tire’s sidewalls, that offer extra grip when the tire sinks into soft surfaces. They also provide an aesthetic that symbolizes the rugged ambitions of the tire’s drivers, Nokian says. Shoulder notches cement the tire’s grip at the point where the sidewalls meet the tread pattern;
- Canyon Cuts form at the intersection of the 3D tread and the shoulders, allowing drivers to experience extra grip when they encounter unpredictable surfaces.
- A Triple Pitch Design that varies the size of the tread blocks within a single compact patch. This allows for acoustic harmonization to help lower the overall noise of the tire, Bourassa said.
The strong structure of the Outpost AT supports high load capacity and has deep tread depth with 14/32s for P-metric sizes and 18/32s for LT-metric sizes, Bourassa added.
“The Outpost AT was intended to be a hardworking product,” Bourassa said of the tire with a 60,000 mile treadwear warranty. “Individual sizes were built up with the highest possible load ratings to handle the most challenging loads, whether you’re carrying your work tools and equipment to the job site or hauling loads of wood for the fireplace.”
Compared to its predecessor, the Outpost AT also has improved rolling resistance thanks to a sustainable rubber compound. With today’s EV pickup trucks mandating low road noise and greater rolling resistance, the Outpost AT is “futureproofed” for years to come, according to Bourassa.
Both the AT and APT feature Nokian’s Pothole Protection Guarantee, which allows drivers to get the tire replaced in the first year of use if it sustains damage beyond repair due to a road hazard. Both tires also come with Nokian’s Driving Safety Indicator, which displays the percentage of available tread so that drivers know when it’s time for a tire replacement. Both tires will start off being manufactured in Nokia, Finland, company executives said.
Tommi Heinonen, vice president of sales for Nokian Tyres North America, said the launch of the two tires will open new opportunities for the tiremaker to grow its North American presence. In the last five years, Nokian opened its first factory in North America in Dayton, Tennessee, which continues to hire new employees to ramp up capacity to four million tires per year. The company is also on track to meet its goal of doubling its sales by 2023 with a focused eye on growth in North America.
“We are very proud of this launch,” Heinonen told members of the media during the launch event. “We enjoyed a strong performance in 2021, and we expect that it’s going to continue in 2022, and this new Outpost family of products will definitely help us.”