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09/07/2019
The evolution of the wheel

Autopromotec Special: tires and wheels

 

Performance, fuel consumption and innovative design: at Autopromotec 2019 premium tire and wheel manufacturers unveiled their latest efforts

 

Nicoletta Ferrini

The key word: exciting. High and even Ultra-High performance are under the magnifying lens of some of the most important tire manufacturers who decided to unveil some of their mindboggling innovations right at Autopromotec 2019, along with some rather fancy and futuristic ideas.

Somewhere between innovation and fantasy; Goodyear's proposals made everyone dream of a tomorrow where cars drive themselves or even “fly”. At Autopromotec 2019, the American group showcased its futuristic "two-in-one" Aero, a tire designed for the autonomous, flying cars of the future. This concept would work both as a tire for driving on the road and a “propeller” for flying through the sky. The concept contains a number of innovative features: a multimodal tilt-rotor serving as a drive train to transfer and absorb forces to and from the road in a traditional orientation and an aircraft propulsion system to provide lift in another orientation; in addition magnetic propulsion, optical sensors and artificial intelligence complete the package. On the other hand, for a “greener” tomorrow we have Oxygene, a ground-breaking concept that features a unique structure with living moss growing within the sidewall. This open structure and the tire’s smart tread design absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road surface, allowing photosynthesis to occur and therefore releasing oxygen into the air. Goodyear, though, did more than just thrill the public with what tomorrow might bring. More "traditional" proposals, in fact, included the high-performance road tire Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 and three new ultra-high-performance models (UUHP) Eagle F1 Supersport, SuperSport R and SuperSport RS, and a new series for trucks Fuelmax-2, Kmax Gen.-2.

In its stand, Bridgestone offered its very own interpretation of the main trends currently sweeping through the market, with new digital services offered to members of its First Stop network: MyFirstStop, a digital sales assistant, or Mobox, a service that will be active by the end of the year and consists of an "all-in-one" monthly subscription for purchasing tires and car services.

As far as products are concerned, Bridgestone will continue to expand its range of top-of-the-range consumer products (17, 18 inches and more) with new premium tires such as the Blizzak LM005 winter tire, the Turanza T005 summer Touring tire and an All-season proposal like the Weather Control A005, all with integrated DriveGuard technology.

In the adjacent Firestone stand, the new Roadhawk summer tire definitely stood out, as did the BattlaxHypersport S22 and Hypersport AX41 for motorcycles, VX Tractor for agricultural vehicles and Ecopia H-Drive 002 for heavy duty long-distance vehicles. Finally, on display, people could also admire the retreaded BandagFueltech H-Drive 002.

High performance and low environmental impact were the themes behind the Hankook exhibition, which brought its new UHP Ventus S1 evo 3, the All-season HankookKinergy 4S 2 and the long-distance bus tire SmartTouring AL22. The Korean brand, focuses on today’s mobility, without neglecting to take a peek to what tomorrow might bring. In fact, two decidedly futuristic proposals were on display, Aeroflow and Hexonic, the result of a two-year-long project, "Design Innovation" by Hankook. Aeroflow is a tire for maximum down-force designed for use in motorsports. To achieve this, the wheel has been widened through a separable tread and the tire grip has been optimised. Hexonic is an intelligent tire concept for autonomous shared mobility vehicles. Hexonic supports the vehicle’s efforts to offer maximum driving comfort by scanning and analysing the road in real time using seven separate sensors.

At the heart of Laufenn’s exhibition space, three new summer tires captured the attention of the public: the high-performance Laufenn S FIT EQ, Laufenn G FIT EQ designed for the Touring segment, and Laufenn X FIT VAN for light transport vehicles.

Autopromotec 2019 also featured the latest additions to the Apollo Tires and Vredestein brands: the Apollo Altrust light truck tire, the all-season VredesteinQuatrac 5, the VredesteinWintrac Pro winter tire and the VredesteinSportrac 5 summer product. Obviously, Vredestein’s Quatrac Pro could not miss, the brand's first UHP all-season tire, launched last March to celebrate the company’s 110 years of activity.

The Falken stand, instead, focused on  high-performance summer tires: Azenis FK510 for cars and SUVs, Sincera SN832 Ecorun for city cars and compact saloons and the sporty Ziex ZE310 Ecorun. Despite that, visitors could take a look also at the new Eurowinter HS01, developed using Advanced 4D-Nano design technology. At Autopromotec 2019, Falken previewed its new Wildpeak A/T AT3WA, which is scheduled to be launched next summer. Falken's proposals for vans and light commercial vehicles included the All-season Euroall Season VAN11, the summer Linam VAN01 and the winter Eurowinter VAN01. Finally, the BI851, GI388 and RI151 truck tires were also exhibited.

NexenTire, which brought some of its newest UHP models to Autopromotec 2019: N'Fera Primus, the second UHP summer tire developed by Nexen for limousines, compact and medium sized luxury cars, and the N'Fera Sport UHP, designed to meet the expectations of those who love a more aggressive style of driving. The Korean manufacturer, as expected, did not neglect the SUV and 4X4 segment, and brought to Bologna its Roadian AT 4x4, a "universal" tire for sports vehicles and SUVs, developed according to the most recent standards imposed by the European Union on noise levels, and Winguard Sport 2 SUV, a winter UHP. The new HP Winguard Snow G3 winter tire, third generation of the vastly popular WinguardSnow G, completes the family of Nexen’s winter tires.

Yokohama's stand, shared with Magri Gomme and CDG-One, featured some of the brand's latest proposals. Taking centre stage was the high performance Advan AD-08RS. Two additional proposals winked at the SUV and 4X4 segments: the new Geolandar X-CV G057, a high-performance model for the most powerful SUV crossovers, and Geolandar X-MT G005, intended for extreme off-road use.

A welcomed debut in Bologna saw GT Radial bring its newest car and transport tires. In collaboration with its historic partner Magri Gomme, the brand presented the new generation of its Giti GTR955 Combi Road trailer tires. Eyes were also fixed on the new summer semi-slick - street legal GitiSport GTR3, developed to bridge the gap between the Giti Compete ranges for motorsport and the high performance road tire GitiSportS1. Furthermore, GT displayed its GitiSportS1 SUV and GitiAllSeasonAS1, an absolute debut in Italy in the All- season high performance segment, with 3PMSF and M + S markings.

Additionally the company showcased also its new 4Season, a tire suitable for all weather conditions and designed for 14 to 17 inch wheels.

Triangle continues renewing its car range and unveiled, for the first time in Europe, the new Snowlink PL02 winter tire, characterized by an asymmetrical tread pattern. With this tire, developed to offer superior handling and grip on wet and snow-clad roads in particular, Triangle aims to increase the brand's presence and sales during the next winter season. The Snowlink PL02 will be available in 16 sizes for cars and 15 sizes for SUVs.

Toyo Tires capitalized on the event to present its range of UHP and SUV tires, but above all to unveil innovative products such as, the new summer light transport tire NanoEnergy Van. Developed according to Nano Balance Technology standards, this innovative tire shows a marked improvement in handling, stability and safety, thanks also to shorter braking distances.

Univergomma and Maxtyre, two national distributors, have officially announced their union at the biennial automotive aftermarket, as well as the new brands Tourador and Austone and the new TBR radial and directional range by a Vietnamese brand, RoadX.

Finnish manufacturer NokianTyres, on the other hand, brought to the event three of its most popular models. Two summer tires: Powerproof, designed for high performance sports cars, and Wetproof, designed for sporty hatchbacks and coupes. The third, Snowproof, is a premium winter tire, developed in line with Nokian's Alpine Sense Grip concept for high performance even in challenging weather conditions.

CST Tires, exclusively distributed in Italy by B.I.S., was present at Autopromotec 2019 with  Adreno H/P Sport AD-R8, an ultra high performance SUV model. In addition to exhibiting some of the latest products, mostly budget brands, for cars and trucks for the Italian market (Kumho, Lassa, Maxxis, Matador, Ovation and Aptany). Fintyre took advantage of the fair to highlight its Pneusmarket Partner program dedicated to its dealer network and Navads, a digital program created to support the network in the creation of a satisfying digital customer experience. In the exhibition stand of the Italian distributor Intergomma, the spotlight was on the Chinese manufacturer AeolusTyres and in particular on its NEO All Roads D, NEO All Roads D+, Neo All Roads S, NEO Winter D, NEO Construct. The Tuscany-based distributor brought to Bologna an additional line of truck tires by a Turkish brand Otani, and launched a range of tires for industrial vehicles by a Russian manufacturer, Cordiant, as well as the impressive quarry truck tires by the Russian brand Kama Tires.

Kenda Tires, along with its exclusive distributor, Gruppo Sirio, brought two new products to the fair: the All-season Kenetica 4S KR202 and the entry level Eco KR203. And finally LinglongTire, also known in Italy for being an official partner of Juventus F.C., took the opportunity to show the new sizes introduced in its range of tires for agriculture and heavy transport.

 

 

WHEELS

Innovation and a desire to thrill are the driving force behind the evolution of wheels. At Autopromotec 2019, the main manufacturers showcased their best in terms of performance and design. In the Momo stand, among some of the brand's most "extreme" proposals, all the new production for the European market was on display. In Alcar’s stand, visitors could admire the brand's latest innovations: the new AEZ Panama, dedicated to premium SUVs, available in "silver high-gloss" and "diamond black" versions; the DOTZ Misano tuning wheel, with an open double-spoke design, available in two colours: gunmetal grey and diamond gunmetal grey; Dezent TZ universal wheel with five double spokes, available in three colours (diamond black, matt graphite and silver); DEZENT AU and BM, "double spoke" compatible with original wheel caps from Audi and BMW.

Mak, on the other hand, turned the lights on its three latest efforts, "Magma", "Polaris" and "Turismo FF". Magma has a slightly symmetrical five-beam configuration and three colour variations (Silver, Black Mirror and Matt Titan). Polaris is an alloy wheel inspired by the design of Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Ford and is available in Silver and Gun Metallic Mirror variants. Designed for Porsche’s Macan and Cayenne, Turismo FF makes lightness its strong point: thanks to the innovative Flow Forged technology it is 22% lighter.

Finally, this overview would hardly be complete without OZ:  two new proposals, Indi HLT and Superturismo Evoluzione. The first is an alloy wheel that is clearly the result of the manufacturer's experience in Formula Indy and therefore consistent with OZ's racing DNA. The five double-spoke design draws directly from its American experience, but represents also a novelty for the Italian brand. Indy HLT is available in Titanium and White Gold finishes. Superturimo Evoluzione, on the other hand, like all OZ wheels is the result of the brand's experience in racing, but it has been enriched with a new accessory: Central Lock Cap, which simulates the single-locking-nut typically found on racing cars. Superturismo Evoluzione is available in Gloss Black finish only.

 

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