PHOENIX—Goodyear said its recent introduction of the Fortera TripleTred premium all-season tire for sport-utility vehicles is an example of the company´s ability to design, test and make new tires at an accelerating pace.
The Fortera TripleTred—which mates the all-weather-optimized TripleTred tread design technology from the Assurance car tire line with its Fortera sport-utility vehicle tire architecture—is the firm´s fifth new tire line in the past 20 months. The latest product complements its recently launched Fortera and Wrangler/SilentArmor light truck/SUV product lines.
Goodyear introduced the tire at a recent gathering in Phoenix of 200 tire dealers. The tire maker is rolling out the product this month to hit the prime fall selling season, executives said.
The tire incorporates some distinct design features, including the use of volcanic sand and minute glass fibers to enhance ice traction in the middle rib and an overlay of PEN, a new polyester-like material that its producers liken to nylon and/or rayon, over the twin steel belts.
The traction generated by the TripleTred´s ice-zone middle tread bar helped the tire achieve the criteria for the Rubber Manufacturers Association´s severe-snow certification, the "Mountain Snowflake" symbol. The TripleTred design is a directional tread pattern.
To support the introduction, Goodyear is backing the product with its most comprehensive warranty package ever, according to Todd Hershberger, marketing manager for light truck tires. This includes a 60,000-mile limited treadwear warranty, a 30-day money back trial, roadside assistance, nationwide warranty, online DOT registration and enrollment in Goodyear´s garage program for service reminders.
Goodyear also plans to set up 100 ride-and-drive events in 30 selected markets around the country in the coming months for dealers and their store personnel to familiarize themselves with the new product.
Dealers attending the launch applauded this initiative, saying it helps generate enthusiasm among their employees.
The firm will support the launch with an advertising blitz it claims will generate 1.2 billion impressions on TV and in newspapers and magazines—including "USA Today," "ESPN the Magazine" and "The Sporting News"—for TripleTred technology, said Sanjay Sivanandan, vice president, Goodyear consumer tires.
The P-metric-sized Fortera TripleTred is aimed at the SUV segment, which is growing about 15 percent this year over 2004 despite the high gasoline prices, said Larry Mason, president, consumer tires.
The owners of SUVs/crossovers choose this type of vehicle "because they want a perfect combination of style and utility," Sivanandan said. "(Their) choice of an SUV says something about the freedom, dependability and confidence they seek."
Goodyear is targeting the Michelin Cross-Terrain SUV tire—on the market since August 2000—as the No. 1 competitor in this segment. Bridgestone/ Firestone also targeted the Cross-Terrain last fall at the launch of its premium SUV tire, the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza.
The Fortera TripleTred is strictly an aftermarket product with no original equipment plans in the immediate future, spokesmen said. It is being built at Goodyear´s plants in Napanee, Ontario, and Lawton, Okla.
Goodyear launched the TripleTred technology in 2003 with Goodyear´s Assurance line of tires. TripleTred includes three tread zones to match varying road and weather conditions.
Goodyear is offering the Fortera TripleTred in 11 sizes initially, from P235/70 R15 to P275/60R17, with two 15-inch sizes, seven 16-inch sizes and two 17-inch sizes.