FULLERTON, Calif. (Jan. 26) — DaimlerChrysler Corp. has selected Yokohama and Bridgestone tires as the original equipment fitments for its 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans due in dealer showrooms this fall.
The contract, for a "significant number" of tires, is the first large volume OE program for Yokohama Tire Corp., the Fullerton-based subsidiary of Japan´s Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. YTC didn´t disclose which tire model will be used. DaimlerChrysler said the standard fitment would be a 16-inch size and the optional fitment a 17-inch.
Bridgestone tires have been OE on the Town & Country for the past several years.
"We expect this to be the beginning of a long, fruitful relationship," said Jeff Carpenter, Yokohama's director of original equipment sales and marketing. YTC will make the tires in four sizes and provide them to DaimlerChrysler from its new distribution center in Columbus, Ohio.
DaimlerChrysler unveiled the redesigned 2008 seven-passenger minivans at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The vehicles at the event were shown with Bridgestone Turanza touring tires.
DaimlerChrysler did not release sales projections for the new models. Last year the company sold 370,245 Chrysler and Dodge minivans, according to Automotive News..
The 2006 Town & Country was equipped with Bridgestone and Goodyear tires, while the Caravan came with Continental and Goodyear tires.
For 2008 DaimlerChrysler will offer only long wheelbase versions (121.2 inches) of the minivans but will add a more powerful 4.0-liter V6 engine to the options. The company makes the minivans at its assembly plants in Windsor, Ontario, and Fenton, Mo.
While this is YTC´s first large volume OE contract, parent company Yokohama Rubber has extensive OE fitments on Japanese and European car models, including the Audi S8, Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur, Lotus Elise and Exige, Porsche 911 Carrera 4, Lexus GS300 and GS430, Mazda MX-5, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Subaru Legacy and Forester, according to YTC.