Safety features increasingly influence consumers' purchase decisions
An interview with Paul Joosten, Goodyear Director of Sales & Marketing,
consumer tires, European Union:
RunOnFlat tyres are receiving an increasing amount of exposure these days. Why does the technology get so much attention?
How does the RunOnFlat technology work?
Paul Joosten: RunOnFlat is a tire technology that allows you to keep on driving after a puncture or blow-out, even when completely flat. As these tyres have reinforced inserts in their sidewalls, they are able to bear the weight of the whole vehicle, even when the tires are totally deflated.
With RunOnFlat, drivers will be able to continue their journey for at least 80km up to 80 km per hour, enabling them to drive safely home or reach the next car dealer. Cars fitted with RunOnFlat technology need to have a tyre pressure monitoring system which automatically alerts the driver in case of a puncture - since the technology is so safe that drivers might not even notice a sudden loss of pressure without it. The levels of ride comfort provided by RunOnFlats are comparable to any other regular tyres.
What are the main benefits of this technology for drivers?
Paul Joosten: The most important safety benefit is certainly that RunOnFlat tyres minimize the risk of an accident since the driver maintains control over the wheel in the event of a blow-out. But RunOnFlat also offers a greater sense of personal security. It provides drivers with peace of mind during their travels. They no longer have to face the eventuality of being stuck on the shoulder of the road whilst trying to change a tyre, thereby often endangering their personal safety. One also no longer has to depend on the kindness of a passing stranger to get help nor fear being stranded in an unsafe area or missing an important appointment due to a puncture or blow-out. With RunOnFlat, many of the dangers and inconveniences associated with having a flat tyre simply disappear.
Are people really interested in this technology?
Paul Joosten: Last summer Goodyear conducted an independent pan-European survey of almost 10 000 drivers across 16 countries to ascertain their level of anxiety on the road. When we asked them which safety features they would like to have on their car, respondents clearly indicated that safety tires top their list of most desired car accessories. 93% of European drivers admit that safety tyres would make them feel much more safe when driving. Over one in four respondents (28%) would even choose safety tyres that allow them to drive on after a puncture or blowout as their most desired car accessory, giving the technology preference over ABS, GPS and side impact airbags. Considering the fact that two thirds (64%) of respondents have had a flat tyre before, it is not surprising that they grasp the benefit of a tire such as RunOnFlat: a car fitted with RunOnFlat tires remains easy to control and holds the vehicle steady and in its lane.
How many RunOnFlat tyres did Goodyear sell in 2005?
Paul Joosten: In 2005 Goodyear sold 1.7 million RunOnFlat tyres and we are currently working on a large number of projects featuring RunOnFlat with several car manufacturers, who are purposefully designing new models to accommodate their fitment as standard. We expect 2006 to be a year in which more and more cars will come off the production line with RunOnFlat as standard.
Isn't this technology only found on luxury cars?
Paul Joosten: Not at all. Goodyear currently manufactures 78 tyre models incorporating the RunOnFlat technology, which indicates that the technology is fast gaining mass acceptance, both with automotive manufacturers and consumers alike. Today, Goodyear RunOnFlat tyres are already fitted on mid-range cars such as the Mini One and Mini Cooper-S, the BMW 1-series and 3-series and the Opel Astra. Of course they are also fitted as original equipment on the BMW 5-series, BMW 6-series, the Mercedes S-Class and E-Class, the Ferrari F430 as well as the Rolls Royce Phantom. In addition, we are working on over 100 RunOnFlat projects with various automotive manufacturers, so we expect to see the uptake of the technology grow even further in the coming year.
Will RunOnFlat become standard on all cars in the future?
Goodyear is the world's largest tyre company. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, the company manufactures tyres, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90 facilities in 28 countries. It has marketing operations in almost every country around the world. Goodyear employs about 80,000 people worldwide.
Goodyear's innovations have set automotive standards for more than 100 years. Goodyear has been the pioneer of the innovative safety technology known as RunOnFlat, which allows a driver to continue on a journey with a punctured tyre. Goodyear is the world's leading manufacturer of runflat tyres, with applications on various BMWs, the award winning Mini, Mercedes-Benz high performance cars, on America's legendary sports car Corvette and other brands. Additional Goodyear RunOnFlat fitments are on the horizon, as the company's designers are working with multiple automobile manufacturers on more than 100 runflat projects. In 2005 Goodyear supplied more than 1.7 million RunOnFlat tyres.
For more information on Goodyear and its products, visitwww.goodyear.co.uk.