SAARISEKA, Finland—Nokian Tyres P.L.C. expects to achieve double-digit growth in North America for the third consecutive year in 2013, helped by new all-weather and winter tire products.
Nokian's sales in North America grew about 12 percent last year to $142 million, or about 7 percent of global sales, company executives said at a recent dealer meeting and press outing at the firm's winter tire testing grounds near Saariseka. Nokian management sees the market potential for North America as twice that of the Nordic countries, which account for about a third of the firm's global sales, or roughly $500 million.
The latest product upgrades for North America are two additions to the Hakkapeliitta winter tire family and a new tire in the expanding All Weather Plus product line: Hakkapeliitta R2 and R2 SUV and WR G3 all-season.
The Hakkapeliitta R2 and R2 SUV lines incorporate several traction and performance innovations, including the use of "cryo crystals"—which the company hasn't described—in the tread compound to enhance ice traction, according to Matti Morri, head of tire technology for the Nokia, Finland-based company.
Nokian has applied for patents on the crystal concept, Morri said.
The directional-tread Hakkapeliita R2 replaces the Hakkapeliitta R in Nokian's lineup. It incorporates several other tread design and compound changes that enhance snow and wet traction, Morri said, as well as yield a measurable reduction in rolling resistance.
The R2 SUV is a more robust version of the R2 featuring different compounds and treads, a two-ply casing, stiffer bead package and a more substantial nylon overlay for enhance load capacity. It also will be offered in nine run-flat sizes.
The WRG3 replaces the G2 in Nokian's lineup. It will come in two distinct tread patterns—a directional, symmetric pattern for 14- and 15-inch sizes and an asymmetric pattern for larger sizes.
It also incorporates a number of performance enhancements for improved traction in wet, snow and ice as well as reduced rolling resistance and noise.
Nokian will start shipping tires this summer in limited sizes and will expand the size range progressively.