Goodyear Provides Prototype Tires to Two Concept Chevrolets
DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2012 -- This week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit offers numerous examples of experts choosing Goodyear tires because of their superior handling and even good looks. While many auto manufacturers have again selected Goodyear tires for their new vehicles, a pair of breakthrough cars from Chevrolet are showing off some concept rubber from Goodyear as part of their brand appeal to youthful drivers.
In the Chevrolet stable of preview vehicles displayed at this week's Detroit show, two concept coupes stand out -- the Code 130R and the Tru 140S. The two vehicles represent the styling and functionality that next-generation buyers are considering, according to Chevrolet.
Goodyear's Tire Design Studio in Akron developed the special tires for the Code 130R and Tru 140S, working with GM engineers, then providing the one-of-a-kind carved tires for the high-profile auto show fitment.
"Our aim is to support our auto maker customers by providing them tire design and manufacturing know-how that fits with their requirements. While our goal is to capture tire fitment selections on the best high-image vehicles, we know that achievement is possible only through a dedication to providing innovation and quality in our products," said Johann Finkelmeier, Goodyear's vice president, original equipment tires.
"Being chosen to supply the tires for these two fabulous concept cars is a demonstration of Goodyear's ability to provide tires for virtually any type of vehicle."
The Code 130R is a four-seat coupe featuring performance-inspired styling and rear-wheel drive. The concept balances turbocharged performance with fuel economy.
The tread of the complementing tires was designed to have the rubber distribution of a popular Goodyear Eagle ultra-high performance tire, with styling to complement the vehicle. The tread design is asymmetric while being in concert with the center line of the car.
According to Chevrolet, the Tru 140S is a front-wheel-drive, "affordable exotic" four-seat sporty coupe.
The tires for the Tru 140S began with the familiar Chevrolet chevron design, evolving into the final design.
The concept tires were manufactured as smooth tread tires in Goodyear's Luxembourg facility, with the eventual distinctive tread designs carved by a programmed laser there. Texture in the tread surface, along with serrations in some of the tread grooves, were added.
"Probably one of the best-kept styling secrets at any major auto show is the artistic work that's presented on the tires of many of the high-profile vehicles," said Paul Maxwell, principal designer in Goodyear's Tire Design Studio. "There is little doubt that the cars are the stars at these auto shows, but the tires ought to get some attention for their strong supporting role."
Among past examples of Goodyear's one-of-a-kind concept tires for auto shows and other activities are the "Snakeskin" tire (for the 1997 Dodge Copperhead concept car), the "big block" tire (for the Ford F-350 "Tonka" truck in 2002), a "Porsche logo" tire (for the 1993 Porsche Boxster concept), a "sweeping" tread design (for the 2006 Chevrolet Camaro concept), and even the "Bat" tire (for the famous Batmobile movie car).
But it isn't all style over substance when it comes to this week's tire fitments at the show.
As vehicle technology and styling continue to improve at an unbelievable pace, any auto enthusiast still knows that one of the most important automotive features is what provides the grip -- the tires. That is the part of a vehicle that comes in contact with the pavement, and it is where the energy transfer occurs, according to Maxwell.
Seemingly futuristic run-flat tires and wild-looking concept tires from Goodyear aren't just the result of a tire design engineer's wild imagination. They are requested components for some of the most popular concept vehicles displayed at auto shows, and those vehicles often evolve into reality in the form of production models.
"Concept tire development is important, because it allows us to contribute to automotive design trends that soon may be coming down the road. Communication between the automaker and tiremaker is paramount to keeping image and messages consistent through design," Maxwell said.
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs approximately 72,000 people and manufactures its products in 55 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry.