Modern Tire Dealer

MAR 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 57 of 77

M T D M a r c h 2 0 1 9 56 F o c u s O n I n d u s t r y W hat does a hybrid u l t r a - h i g h p e r - formance tire and mu d - t e r r a i n t i r e look like? Federal Tire North America LLC has the answer — the Xplora MTS. Two years ago Federal considered this a concept tire, but Chairman Jamie Ma says the reaction to the beefy tire with wide, directional grooves was so strong the company is bringing it to market. Production of the Xplora MTS began in January, and the first shipments are arriving this month in 20-, 22- and 24-inch sizes. In the fourth quarter Federal will add 17- and 18-inch sizes, and 26-inch sizes will follow in early to mid-2020. Here's a look at the initial lineup: 20 inch: 35x12.50R20LT 121Q 10PR 22 inch: 35x12.50R22LT 117Q 10PR 37x12.50R22LT 127Q 10PR 37x13.50R22LT 123Q 10PR 40x15.50R22LT 128Q 10PR 24 inch: 35x12.50R24LT 114Q 10PR 37x13.50R24LT 120Q 10PR 38x15.50R24LT 127P 10PR 40x15.50R24LT 128P 10PR 42x15.50R24LT 130Q 8PR "We had private showings at SEMA and received such positive feedback we decided to bring the prototype MTS to market without any changes," Ma says. Steve Hutchinson, who is working as an advisor to Federal, says the tire is "as mean as it looks." e catch is, the tire isn't meant for off-road duty. It's marketed for Jeep and lied light truck enthusiasts. "It's for the city dweller who has a high desire for considerable styling." e Xplora MTS features: • V-shaped grooves, which provide tire rigidity and protect against chips and cuts; • an armor-like appearance, with massive tire blocks that provide steering and traction control for stability, safety and performance; • wide, directional grooves, which reduce hydroplaning on wet roads, and also provide for added comfort and reduced noise; and • linear shoulder blocks to help with comfort, and improve steering control. e tire features a new silica-infused compound — it's a combination of an UHP tire compound and a M/T tire compound. Ma says Federal saw an opportunity to serve the consumers who want the looks of the off-road life, while sticking to the pavement. And even though there's been a flash of M/T tire introductions in recent years, Ma says, "everybody has been very conventional with the traditional M/T, and nothing has been revolutionized to match the fashion trend." LOOKING TO GROW Federal opened its North American office in Torrance, Calif., two years ago, and is making its move into the market, Hutchin- son says. "We have a ways to go, but our roots are taking hold. We're expanding our distribution and we have a lot of good things coming in the next few years. New products. New people. We're hiring. We're a company on the move." As it works to expand its reach in the U.S., Federal is looking to fill in areas of the Midwest and Southeast with additional tire distributors in those regions. Because the company doesn't have its own warehouses in the U.S., it relies on distributors to buy containers of tires, as well as those retailers who can purchase containers and then distribute the tires to their own stores. Tom Hofmann is CEO and president of Freedom Tire Distributing Inc., and for the last four years his Corona, Calif.,-based company has distributed Federal tires throughout southern California — from Los Angeles to Mexico. He says the Xplora MTS is a prime example of what Federal adds to his prod- uct lineup. "It's unique," Hofmann says. "at's where Federal has done well for us." Freedom Tire Distributing carries the full Federal line, and Hofmann expects the Xplora MTS to be a good addition to the mix. Hofmann says he thinks the stylized tire for light truck and Jeep owners is "a great opportunity. e trendy stuff always starts here (in California.)" ■ Joy Kopcha By Federal releases a new kind of M/T tire XPLORA MTS IS ONE OF FOUR NEW PRODUCTS FOR 2019 Federal Tire is "a company on the move," says Steve Hutchinson. He's working as an advisor alongside Chairman Jamie Ma, center, and Joseph Kao, operations manager, far right. In addition to launch- ing the Xplora MTS, Federal will release new R/T, A/T and UHP tires in 2019. The Xplora MTS is designed for the urban cowboy, and "has a brave, out-of- this-world kind of look," says Ma.

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