Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D A p r i l 2 0 1 9 64 E u r o p e a n N o t e b o o k O nce again Europe's annual and prestigious Geneva International Motor Show took place at the begin- ning of March in Geneva, Switzerland. e show has traditionally been an important promotional platform for leading "A" brand tire manufactur- ers to showcase their latest innovative products and progressive developments for the future. is year was no exception, with Goodyear Dunlop, Pirelli & Cie SpA, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Groupe Michelin, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. and Apollo Vredestein BV all exhibiting and holding news breaking press conferences during the two exclusive Press Days before the official event. With Brexit just under a month away and still no conclusion to this long-running political problem, signs of the increasing downturn in car sales across all European countries were significant, with Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Opel and Ford Motor Co. all absent from this year's show. PIRELLI: WINTER HIGH PERFORMANCE I spoke with Matteo Battani, head of strategic marketing, about the various innovative developments at Pirelli, including its new P Zero winter tire pattern that is claimed to be the very first of its kind to incorporate the proven performance of a summer tire, and the very first electric supercars fitted with bespoke t i r e s t h a t h a v e "Elect"'markings indi- cating they have been produced specifically for these vehicles. Matteo explained that the new P Zero winter pattern obvi- ously inherits all the features of this famous Pirelli brand and also ensures superior safety and performance in all winter weather and road conditions. Finally making its industry debut at the show was the Elect markings on P Zero tires that have been specially produced by Pirelli for electric cars and plug-in hybrids, which provide a number of significant advantages for eco-friendly vehicles through a series of technical characteristics. Matteo told me, "ese crucial advantages include lower rolling resistance and a reduction in noise and in particular sound frequencies inside the car and from the tires when driving an electric car. Also, Elect delivers immediate grip in line with the intense demands from the transmission as electric motors produce the maximum torque available from the bottom of the rev range so tires are required that bite instantly into the road. All these new additions to our range are for worldwide release." MICHELIN: NEW PILOT SPORT OPTIONS It has been a number of years since Michelin exhibited at the show, and when I spoke with Pierre Chaput, tire designer and development engineer, along with Cyrille Roget, Groupe technical and scientific communications director, they informed me that Michelin had stayed away from the event in previous years in order to reorganize its brand structure and overhaul its tire designs. Now in 2019 this recognized leading brand is back with impressive new additions to their Pilot Sport range, including the Pilot Sport 4 SUV and Pilot SportCup2. "ese new tires have been specifically designed for drivers who enjoy using their car's full driving potential, and both the Pilot Sport 4 SUV and SportCup2 patterns are implemented with technologies developed for motorsport," said Chaput. e Pilot Sport 4 SUV is a genuine sports tire that has been adapted for use on an SUV, with particular emphasis on control and stability at high speed and extended tire life, with Roget adding, "is tire guarantees exceptional grip compared to its market competitors through its special asymmetrical design of the tread with the outer part for dry conditions and the internal section for wet conditions. It also features a new compound mix of unique operational and innovating elastomers plus fine silica whilst the tread is ultra-reactive and adapts to road conditions through dynamic interaction between the tread pattern and the advanced tread compounds that ensures perfect management of the tire contact patch." e Pilot Sport Cup2 also incorporates a mix of tread compounds from Michelin's motorsport department, and the tire has been specially manufactured for dry track conditions. Once again these new tire ranges from Michelin are expected to become available throughout the world in due course. YOKOHAMA: HOBBY TIRE INTRODUCTION As a seasoned exhibitor at the Geneva Motor Show, Yokohama was using this year's event to explain its visionary mid-term strategy, which is known as "Grand Design 2020" and consists of three main areas. I spoke with David Olivia, manager of the PCR Product Plan- ning and Marketing Department, who explained these objectives were to help Yokohama become a global tire supplier for premium performance cars, to be known as a leading provider in the winter performance sector, and to introduce the company's relatively new "hobby tire" range. At the booth were a number of new tire patterns making their debut in Europe from Yokohama's legendary Advan line, including several patterns from the brand's increasing winter tire selection such as the BluEarth-4S AW21 all-season tire for the European passenger car market. Also being launched was the iceGuardiG60, a PCR studless pattern that offers the highest performance levels of any studless tire ever produced by Yokohama, while the all- Flying cars, high-speed winter patterns and 'hobby' tires John Stone By The Pirelli booth featured new tires in the company's P Zero World retail format.

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