Goodyear UltraGrip winter tires - a forty-year success story
More than 50 Million UltraGrips sold and 60 recommendations received across Europe
Seville, Spain, February 7th, 2011 – Cold winters and poor summers – that’s what many European countries apart from those along the Mediterranean Sea have in common. Over the past few years, those cold winters have been getting even colder, with the winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 breaking records in the number of ‘ice days’ (24-hour periods in which the temperature doesn’t climb above zero) and record levels of snowfall, also in non-typical winter markets. This winter, roadside assistance organizations attended to a record number of breakdowns related to the severe weather throughout Europe. These record levels of snow, ice and slush contributed to unpredictable and dangerously slippery roads and record-breaking traffic jams. Not surprisingly, winter tires and the question whether they should be made mandatory in many European countries where they are not, are topics that are currently high on the agenda throughout Europe.
Winter tires do improve road safety
In the past, tire manufacturers often had to defend themselves against the claim that winter tires don’t add performance improvements in winter. Yet tire tests by independent testing organizations consistently show that winter tires such as the Goodyear UltraGrip tires outperform summer tires in all winter conditions and deliver clear safety benefits not only on snow and ice but also at cold temperatures on slushy and wet roads.
“The confusion surrounding winter tires must be resolved,” says Gerrit Huysmans of Belgium’s Association of Tire Manufacturers, FederAuto. “Unfortunately, the terms ‘winter tire’ and ‘snow tire’ are often used interchangeably, which means many consumers still think winter tires are useful only in snow or ice. The fact that these tires outperform summer tires in all conditions below 7 degrees is less well-known and therefore under-appreciated.”
Jean-Pierre Jeusette, Goodyear’s Director Tire Technology for Consumer Tires in Europe, Middle East and Africa, agrees: “What the consumer often doesn’t know is that winter tires are developed using very specific rubber compounds that perform much better at lower temperatures than the compounds used in summer tires. Add to that the fact that the tread pattern of winter tires is also optimized for maximum grip as well as water and slush evacuation, and you begin to understand why there is a very real difference in the performance of summer and winter tires in all winter weather conditions.”
Goodyear UltraGrip – 40 years of innovation.
The Goodyear UltraGrip winter tire, first launched in 1971 and now in its eight-generation, has consistently delivered outstanding performance, with the Goodyear UltraGrip 7+ recently stopping an astonishing six car lengths shorter during an emergency stopping manoeuvre on snow than a new summer tire. The test, by UK’s leading automotive weekly Auto Express, also measured traction during acceleration, which showed that the Goodyear UltraGrip had three times more grip than the tested summer tire. Kim Adams, Chief Tester at Auto Express concurs with other industry experts on the validity of winter tires: “It’s no wonder our roads grind to a standstill every time it snows. Imagine the improvement if we all had three times the grip!”1
Jeusette adds: “At Goodyear, we invest an enormous amount of time and energy into continuously improving our products. We set extremely stringent standards for all our products and it shows in the results we achieve in the tests our products are put through in the market. The UltraGrip winter tire range is a great example. Since its first market introduction 40 years ago we have worked diligently at further improving it, always pushing the boundaries of the technologies. Over the past thirty years we have sold more than 50 million UltraGrip tires and have won more than 60 recommendations and awards in independent tests throughout Europe.”
“The new UltraGrip 8, which has already been independently tested by the German Testing and Certification Organisation TÜV SÜD Automotive, will no doubt collect an impressive array of accolades in tests prior to the coming winter season. Tests show that the tire delivers excellent grip and stopping distances on snow and ice,” adds Jeusette.
Safety is a shared responsibility
“We all have to assume responsibility for road safety. Governments should ensure well-maintained roads that are in good condition, drivers have to adapt their driving behaviour to difficult weather conditions and we as tire manufacturers have to aim at further improving the safety performance of our products. Making sure your tires are in good condition and that your driving style reflects weather conditions are of key importance in ensuring the safety of all road users. Now imagine the improvement of conditions on our roads during winter if we all would drive on UltraGrip 8 winter tires,” concludes Jeusette from Goodyear.
1 Independent test organised by UK’s leading weekly automotive magazine ‘Auto Express’, using a VW Golf on a snow surface at -15c. Tire size: 205/55R16 H. Published 27 Oct 2010.