BACK TO BEGINNINGS
The Japanese company has updated its range with the arrival of the performance V105, the jewel in Yokohama’s crown. Characterized by the high levels of technological content of an authentic sports tyre as well as new driving comfort, it will be exhibited at the upcoming Autopromotec fair in Bologna
IT WAS IN 1987 that what was then called simply Magri Gomme – from which Yokohama Italia was created in 1990 – imported for the first time from Japan a tyre, whose conception and design was really futuristic for the period, that introduced to the Italian market a combination of true sportiness and driving pleasure. It was called the A008 and was destined to equip sporty vehicles in the mid and high ranges: a performance product that was also comfortable and an immediate hit with tyre specialists and the general public.
Since then, the Japanese brand has become known for its dynamic nature and is popular with users who wanted sportiness and design and, until recently, were more oriented towards performance than, perhaps, durability. “Today, the evolution of the market, pressure from competitors and the maturity of a demanding public that knows about all the characteristics a tyre must offer, led the manufacturers to the study of a tyre distinguished by a different benchmark, evolved products that had to include comfort, dynamism, grip and economy”, explained Roberto Pizzamiglio – Marketing and Sales Director at Yokohama Italia – during an exclusive interview with Pneurama. These prerequisites led to the Advan Sport V105 series, which replaced the previous V103 and is already original equipment on blue-blooded cars of the calibre of Audi and Mercedes.
Looking at the future
For Yokohama the main new development of the year is the name. Officially presented last March at the Geneva Motor Show, the new Advan Sport V105 was immediately positioned at the top of the Yokohama catalogue. It offers high technological content thanks to scientific research promoted by the brand’s development centres”, Pizzamiglio explained. Making a fundamental contribution to the creation of this tyre model is experience in competitions and, in particular, Yokohama’s participation – as official supplier – in World Touring Car Championships. Racing know-how brought interesting new developments, including the creation of the new casing called Matrix Body Ply, stable and strong intertwining plies that give grip, strength and stability, especially on corners. Developed in synergy with Mercedes as original equipment for the prestigious CLS and SLK Roadster, the new Advan Sport V105 also includes the use of rayon, which increases casing rigidity without penalizing comfort. The Advan Sport V105 delivers sporty performance and a reduction in weight (by 4.6% compared to the previous V103) thanks to the use of lighter raw materials. Advan Sport V105 generates less resistance to rolling and less internal heat, which is all to the advantage of fuel efficiency, and maximum resistance to wear. Currently available in 36 sizes, from 205/55 R16 to 255/30 R20 (with V and Y speed ratings), during the year the range will be expanded to replace the V103 (except for the SUV versions, about which there is no recent information).
At this historically difficult time, with a falloff in sales that certainly has not spared the tyre segment, despite stemming the downturn by continually renewing its range even a premium brand like Yokohama has to adopt more flexible and commercially aggressive strategies. The economic trend prompted us to make our offer even more interesting” – the sales manager continued – “now on the market at a price for retailers that is an average of 5.5% lower and even 10% lower for some sizes of the new Advan Sport, to make our products increasingly competitive, especially in the top range”. Farsighted reasoning considering that in the Italian company’s sales plans Advan Sport counts for about 20% of global revenues, even though sales volumes are about 13%.
Testifying to transversal quality through an array of its most significant models, Yokohama does not stop at simply presenting its new UHP Advan Sport; it is constantly present in all the motorsport sectors that rely on tyres for achieving certain results. On the track, as we saw, but also off-road, where the company still sponsors the all-Italian event, Donnavventura. By choosing a group of intrepid women as testimonials every year, it is the standard bearer for responsible tourism in impenetrable terrain thanks to the 4x4 Mitsubishis and Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tyres.
Targets and future prospects change and Yokohama is engaged in producing its ranges by making use of the most modern eco-friendly technologies of the past couple of years – the BluEarth family. BluEarth tyres are a technological concentrate with low impact on the environment (as already demonstrated by BluEarth AE-01 with H and T speed ratings which are popular with the majority of mid-range cars) and all the current and future series will benefit from their advantages. Eco know-how is also applied to the new Advan Sport V105, shown by the BluEarth logo on the shoulder” Pizzamiglio emphasized. From now on, it is a symbol that we will learn to recognize on all the company’s tyres due to be completely renewed by 2014. Irrespective of their destination, they will benefit from NanoBlend compounds made with citrus oil additives and the latest technologies for making reinforced casings that reduce rolling resistance in favour of savings and durability.