DAYTON, Tenn. — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. not only broke ground on its first U.S. tire plant this week, it also launched one of the products it eventually plans to produce there.
The Finnish tire maker showed off the eNTYRE C/S, an all-season tire designed specifically for the North American sport-utility/crossover vehicle (SUV/CUV) market. The tire, which the company said will offer outstanding performance, durability, comfort and safety on wet, snowy and dry surfaces, will be available for dealers in early 2018.
One day after company executives and Tennessee politicians — including Nokian President and CEO Hille Korhonen and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam — broke ground at the site of the $360 million plant, Nokian held a ride-and-drive event featuring the new tire.
A group of around 50 people, including Nokian dealers from Canada and the U.S., drove SUVs outfitted with eNTYRE C/S tires around the mountains and Tennessee countryside. The media and Canadian dealers drove from Chattanooga to Dayton, site of the plant, then took a boat ride on Lake Chickamauga from the picturesque Blue Water Resort in Dayton back to Chattanooga. The U.S. dealers made the trip in reverse.
Nokian officials said the eNTYRE fills a void in their product lineup.
"Several years ago we heard from you, our loyal customers, that we really need a new member to our all-season family," Matti Morri, technical customer service manager for Nokian, told dealers during his presentation. "At that time, we started the project, and now we are very proud to bring you the new member of our tire family."