LAS VEGAS (Nov. 10, 2009) — Nokian Tyres Inc. is looking to expand its presence in North America with the development of the firm's first all-season tire, a premium product called eNTYRE.
The new product, in development for the past three years, will allow Nokian to tap into a market segment for which it previously had no product, Nokian Tyres President Bernie del Duca said at a product unveiling held during the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas.
He estimated the size of the potential market for this product at about 50 million units. Up to now Nokian has sold only winter and summer tires, greatly restricting its ability to market to the largest segment of the U.S. population, del Duca said. As a result, Nokian is recruiting some new distributors to handle the product throughout the southern U.S.
Nokian is pitching the eNTYRE as a premium product with performance on par with or better than premium all-season offerings from Bridgestone Americas, Michelin North America Inc. or Goodyear.
It will be priced slightly below those products, he said, adding price schedules should be available by year-end. The tire is being built at parent Nokian Tyre P.L.C.'s plant in Vzevolozhsk, Russia.
The eNTYRE is a directional tire with four polished circumferential grooves, 3D siping, “cooling edge” indentations along the tread shoulder to promote cooling and “splash stopper” groove design along the outside edge to reduce water spray generation.
The tire was designed for and will be sold only in North America, Nokian executives stressed, and will be available in 26 sizes, ranging from 185/65R15 to 225/45R17, starting in the first quarter of 2010. The tire will be T-, H- or V-rated, depending on size and application; all but one size will be XL rated for high-end load-carrying capabilities. The majority of the sizes will carry a UTQG tread rating of 700 with four of the larger, lower profile sizes rated at 560.
In addition Nokian is pitching the eNTYRE's environmentally friendly characteristics, saying it offers lowered rolling resistance and lowered weight along with being built with “earth-friendly” oils.
The latter is a reference to Nokian's phase-out of high aromatic processing oils – suspected carcinogens – in line with European Union regulations. Nokian is calling attention to this aspect by molding a birch leaf insignia into the sidewall.