Goodyear DuraPlus Tire Launch in Thailand
Everyone remembers when the latest model of this car or that SUV was changed or facelifted, but most will be hard pressed to answer when asked when a new tire was launched. This is a sad reality, given that tires greatly influence an automobile’s performance, comfort and safety. So imagine the pleasant surprise that greeted the members of the ASEAN press when Goodyear reiterated that they successfully launched no less than four new tires in less than three years: the Eagle F1 Asymmetric, Assurance, Wrangler HP AW SmartTred and Wrangler Silent Armor. Now, they have come full circle and introduced yet another new revolutionary tire: the DuraPlus.
A Growing Market Needs a New Breed of Tire
A name such as ‘DuraPlus’ may not evoke a sense of sexiness compared to something alphanumeric, but Goodyear’s simplified naming convention does strike a chord much better with the buying public. Finally, there’s no need to memorize what each A, B or C means on the tire’s name; DuraPlus simply does what the name evokes: durability and reliability plus comfort and efficiency. It is brilliantly simple and logical at the same time, especially when you consider its target market.
With the global economic slowdown, the automotive market is shifting towards smaller, value-oriented cars. In the ASEAN region alone, the sub-compact segment composed of cars like the Toyota Vios and Honda City is expected to grow by around 8-10 percent year after year. At the same time, there are those who were in the market for new cars, but have or will defer their new car purchase in favor of simply maintaining their current ride. This market trend has pushed more than 100 Goodyear engineers in two continents to develop the DuraPlus, a tire that is designed solely for value-oriented customers.
Goodyear’s focus towards the value segment means that although the DuraPlus is available in 30 sizes, it all falls in the 12 to 16-inch range. Don’t fret if your car doesn’t have DuraPlus tires that fit it—you’re probably not the target market in the first place. The typical DuraPlus customer is looking for a tire that above all, delivers outstanding mileage life without sacrificing safety and performance. Goodyear engineers made sure that these parameters have been met, and in the case of mileage life, exceeded, by creating the first tire that can run up to 100,000 kilometers.
Rolling With Innovative New Technology
Saying that the Goodyear DuraPlus is like any other tire is like equating a Rolex to just any other watch or a Ferrari to any other car. It takes working knowledge of how tires work to fully appreciate the new DuraPlus, but once you do, anyone will be appreciative of the new and innovative technologies put inside every DuraPlus tire.
The key to the high wear life of the DuraPlus tire begins with Goodyear’s trademark TredLife Technology. TredLife Technology is a combination of design innovations that puts more wearable rubber down (10 to 20 percent depending on the tire size). It starts with the tire’s wide face cavity that increases the footprint. In addition, a higher ‘land to sea’ (the difference between the tire’s surface and its deep grooves) ratio depth allows for even more wearable rubber. The result is tread wear that is longer by up to 80 percent compared to its competitors—a validation done through Goodyear’s internal testing in both laboratory and real world conditions.
Aside from TredLife Technology, the construction of the DuraPlus tire is made from advanced carbon-based compounds that have more black carbon to give it more resistance to frictional wear. This advanced tread compound also boasts of a specialized molecular design as not to compromise wet weather handling.
Beyond improving tread wear, the DuraPlus tire also has technologies to improve fuel efficiency, handling and comfort over the entire life expectancy of the tire. For instance, the lightweight carcass provides less rolling resistance improving fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, the asymmetric tread pattern improves grip and handling by placing more rubber on the outside shoulder of the tire. The same asymmetric tread pattern also incorporates closed shoulder elements greatly reducing audible tire noise and improving passenger comfort.
All in all, Goodyear reckons that switching to DuraPlus tires from any one of its competing tire brands will equate to savings up to 50 percent on routine car maintenance (i.e. fuel bills, tire replacement fees, etc.), a fact validated once again by Goodyear’s real world testing done on Thailand’s roads using a DuraPlus 185/65 R 14 tire.
Walking the Talk: Testing the Goodyear DuraPlus in Thailand
For a day, a group of composed 22 Goodyear dealers and 42 journalists sampled the type of real world test to which the DuraPlus was and will be subjected to in future testing. It starts out with a fleet of identical cars; and in this case, it is a base-model Toyota Vios—a car that’s highly representative of the tire’s target market. Half of the fleet is fitted with DuraPlus tires while the other half is fitted with tires from its various competitors. After some tread wear measurements are taken, the fleet then takes off and goes through an arduous 218 kilometer journey through varied terrain with everything from city traffic, highway roads and mountain passes incorporated in the route. And just like how Goodyear engineers do it, the group then switched from a car fitted with DuraPlus tires to one that is fitted with a competitor’s.
Almost immediately, there’s a noticeable difference between the Goodyear DuraPlus and its rival tire the moment you begin moving. Though both tires are new, the DuraPlus quelled low speed road vibration much better than the other tire. Plus, it is quieter and feels more at ease during braking. As the convoy hit the highway, the DuraPlus’s high speed stability is evidently better as well.
The group’s testing ended after one complete loop around the route, but a group of dedicated Goodyear drivers will continue this punishing endurance run 24/7 for seven weeks, taking detailed tread wear measurements at the end of each round and projecting the remaining tread life of the DuraPlus tires compared to its rivals. In order to eliminate other factors such as the car’s conditions and the driver’s driving style, the tires will be rotated through each of the cars and so will the drivers.
Goodyear has been a leading innovator in tire technology for more than a century, and the DuraPlus tire proves that this company is not letting off even one bit. Aside from setting a new standard in tread wear life, the Goodyear DuraPlus also answers the consumer’s need for a tire that improves fuel efficiency and delivers an unparalleled peso per kilometer value. And that’s not all, because of the longer tire life and improved fuel efficiency, the Goodyear DuraPlus also gives environmental benefits which are also fast becoming a factor in a consumer’s decision. The Goodyear DuraPlus is a tire that does it all, and it should come as no surprise because it is from the company that pioneered the mass-production passenger car tire.
By Ulysses Ang | Photos By Ulysses Ang