The company is now over one hundred years old and it continues along the path of the Hakkapeliittas, focusing on heavy specialisation and excellence under Northern conditions. During the early stages of its production, Suomen Gummitehdas Osakeyhtiö created a far-reaching innovation – the winter tyre for demanding driving conditions.
As a pioneer of the industry, Nokian Tyres has a strong position on the worldwide market. Entrepreneurship, innovation and team spirit are still held in high regard.
Nokian Tyres works in close cooperation with the world’s leading car manufacturers. Over 20 quality brands have chosen products from Nokian Tyres for their winter tyre programme. Testing cooperation with contractors plays a key role in the development of Nokian special tyres. The community of Hakkapeliitta Test Drivers (LINKKI) was also created in 2011 in order to share experiences of tyres and traffic for the benefit of all road users.
Product development makes new innovations in the fields of rubber compound composition and technical solutions alike. The rubber compound of the winter tyre was updated to the intelligent eSilica. Diamond-like Cryo Crystals were added to the rubber compound of the new-generation Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 non-studded tyre in order to ensure grip.
An entirely new generation of Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tyres was launched in 2013. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 studded tyre dominated winter tyre tests in the Nordic countries and Russia. This modern pioneer combines superior grip on ice and precise handling in any weather. Stud technology was updated to the Nokian Eco Stud 8 concept that has 50% more studs than before. The multiple test-winning Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 studded tyres achieved the latest world record for the fastest car on ice, 335.713 km/h (208.602 mph).
The sturdy Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV is a new studded tyre for sports utility vehicles; its key features are the grip provided by the new stud technology and the strength derived from the Aramid reinforced sidewall structure.
In the winter of 2014, Nokian Tyres presented something completely new: a non-studded tyre with studs that the driver can activate at the press of a button. This allows for using the best features of studded and non-studded tyres according to the current weather conditions. This innovative concept is not yet available for consumers, but it paves the way for the future of studded tyre technology.
Modern driving offers increasingly more choices. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2, launched in 2014 and tailored for the Northern winter, has record-breaking low rolling resistance. This non-studded winter tyre has the world's highest energy efficiency and it is designed for electric cars whose range can be substantially extended by using this tyre model. The high fuel efficiency placed the new Hakkapeliitta in the best class A of the EU tyre label.
The world’s first winter tyre for tractors, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta TRI, was introduced in 2014. The multi-edged block-pattern tread and sipe activators provide grip, but the length variations in the tread pattern keep rolling noise low. The tyre was immediately used to set the speed record for tractors with the help of rally legend Juha Kankkunen.
A new factory was opened in Vsevolozshk, Russia in 2012, which increased the annual production capacity in Finland and Russia to over 20 million tyres. The company's headquarters and product development are located in Nokia, Finland. Ari Lehtoranta started as the President and CEO in 2014.
The Vianor chain continues along a path of strong growth. Tyre sales and service is now available in 27 countries via 1,300 outlets. You can also purchase Nokian tyres online.
High quality products and new innovations from Nokian Tyres continue to improve road safety. The strengths of the Hakkapeliittas are still needed when facing even more varying and demanding winter conditions.
Tailored and tested safety
The most part of product development for winter tyres takes place in Finland. The quality, durability and eco-friendliness of winter tyres are based on careful structural development and testing. Over half of Nokian Tyres’ product development resources are spent on testing under realistic, harsh conditions. The heart of winter testing for the Hakkapeliittas is the 700-hectare Ivalo Testing Center, affectionately known as White Hell, which is located north of the Arctic Circle. Temperatures can vary by up to 40°C within 24 hours. Ivalo offers a choice of over 20 different test tracks that can test the acceleration and braking properties of tyres and, above all, their driving feel on snow and ice. The testing season lasts from November to May, and over 20,000 winter tyres are tested during this period.
Winter tyres are also intensively tested on international test tracks and at the Nokia test centre that features the world's first slushplaning track. A high-speed camera is also used to study the tyre’s slushplaning and aquaplaning properties. Alongside track testing, laboratory testing and traffic trials on normal roads are also used to ensure the quality and durability of winter tyres.
Image: Ivalo Testing Center White Hell. Home of the winter tyres.
From carbon black to Silica
Carbon black is a traditional bonding agent in tyre material, and it was involved in the manufacture of the rubber compound already in the 1930s, when the winter tyre was born. At the Nokia factory, those working with carbon black were known by their black overalls and they had a separate table at the canteen.
Nowadays, silica is used in addition to carbon black. A mixture of natural rubber and silica makes the winter tyre very wear-resistant. A high silica content will also reduce rolling resistance. Earlier, combining a high amount of natural rubber with a high silica content was difficult. The new-generation Intelligent eSilica is a functional tread compound that is used in the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 non-studded tyre designed for electric cars. Its molecular chains form a strong and flexible combination by means of the silane that acts as transmitter. The winter silica compound works along a wide temperature range, provides optimal grip and promotes fuel economy. The combination of natural rubber, silica and canola oil is an unbeatable weapon for the Northern winter.
Image: Nokian Intelligent eSilica. Increased range, excellent winter grip.
Grip like never before – Nokian Cryo Crystal grip particles
The skid stopper can also be inside the rubber compound! Microscopic, chamfered crystals added into the rubber compound of the non-studded winter tyre improve its lateral and longitudinal grip especially on ice. The diamond-tough Cryo Crystal particles grab onto the driving surface and improve grip. New crystals will continuously start to appear as the surface of the tyre wears down.
Image: Nokian Cryo Crystal Concept. In a way, the crystals act as built-in studs by gripping the surface with their sharp and hard edges.
Modern stud technology – Nokian Eco Stud 8
The revolutionary stud placement, ensure superior grip and soft stud contact on all driving surfaces. Instead of placing studs on rows, they are evenly divided across the entire tread surface of the tyre. This means that no stud is behind another, which balances the longitudinal and lateral grip of the tyre and maintains steering.
The stud cushion, already used in the 1990s Eco Studs, dampens the stud’s impact with the road. This meant that the number of studs could be increased without adding to its road wear effects. On average, a Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 tyre has over 190 studs. However, the new stud technology allows road wear effects to remain clearly below the level determined in the Nordic legislation. The lower rolling noise is a nice bonus.
Image: Nokian Eco Stud 8 Concept. Supreme grip on ice and soft stud contact.
Testing at the extremes – World records for the fastest car on ice
In recent years, Nokian Tyres has dominated the world records for the fastest car on ice. Test driver Janne Laitinen clocked the latest record of 335.713 km/h (208.602 mph) in March 2013 on the ice of the Gulf of Bothnia, near Oulu. The car was an Audi RS6 equipped with Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 studded tyres. At the record speed, the car travelled over 93 metres per second. The earlier record was also set by Laitinen: 331.61 km/h (206.05 mph).
According to the definition of the Guinness World Records organisation, the world record for the fastest car on ice is determined by measuring the time spent on a one-kilometre track, both ways and with a flying start. The world record is the average of these readings. The ice must be natural, and it must not be roughened or treated with chemicals. The tyres must be commercially available and approved for road use.
Nokian Tyres also holds the world record for the fastest electric car on ice: 252.09 km/h (156.67 mph) – also driven by Janne Laitinen. This top speed was achieved with the E-RA electric car in cooperation with the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in March 2012. The record was run in Inari on the ice of Lake Ukonjärvi with Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded tyres.
Image: Janne Laitinen and the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 at world record speed.
Durability like never before – Nokian Aramid Sidewall technology
What is the most common reason for tyre damage? An impact to the tyre sidewall when driving into a pothole, for example. Hitting the kerb when parking carelessly can also be destructive.
Aramid stands for aromatic polyamide. It is a strong synthetic fibre that is commonly used in the aviation and defence industries and has excellent heat resistance. Nokian Tyres used aramid to develop a sidewall rubber compound that strengthens the sidewall, allowing it to better withstand impacts and cuts. The Aramid Sidewall technology is utilised in the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV winter tyre, for example.
Image: A tyre sidewall reinforced with Nokian Aramidilla Sidewall guarantees a longer service life and more peace of mind.
Future technology – Non-studded tyre with studs
Changing driving conditions are becoming increasingly common in winter traffic. The winter tyre needs to adapt to all sorts of conditions, such as bare motorways, slippery ramps and bridges, unpredictable crossroads and other challenging locations.
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta concept tyre developed by Nokian Tyres combines the best features of studded and non-studded tyres. The idea behind this non-studded tyre with studs is that the studs can be made to pop out as driving conditions change. The stud body remains in place constantly; the moving part is the hard metal pin in the centre of the stud. This innovation, which was presented as a concept tyre, is a glimpse of the future and shows that combining studded and non-studded tyres is finally possible.
Image: Unique stud technology pops out the studs when needed.
The world’s most energy-efficient winter tyre for electric cars – Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2
Nokian Tyres developed the world’s first winter tyre with an A rolling resistance rating. The new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 is a non-studded winter tyre that is especially designed for BMW’s unique i3 electric car. This genuine Hakkapeliitta winter tyre is tailored for the Northern winter and it combines extremely low rolling resistance, first-class grip and exceptional driving comfort. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tyres allow owners of electric cars to enjoy up to 30% lower rolling resistance compared to the other winter tyres on the market. The low rolling resistance immediately reduces fuel consumption, thereby increasing the range of the electric car. What is the secret of low rolling resistance? You need a firm and rigid tyre body and optimal materials that minimise the heat generation and internal deformation of the tyre. A high-quality winter tyre may even have lower rolling resistance than a summer tyre. According to the EU tyre label, the rolling resistance of the new model is in class A; this has not been achieved by any winter tyre before.
Image: The new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 is the most energy-efficient tyre in the world in terms of rolling resistance.
Speed record for tractors – Nokian Hakkapeliitta TRI
The speed record for tractors was achieved in Finnish Lapland, on the emergency airfield of Vuojärvi in February 2015. The vehicle was Valtra’s latest tractor model, the T234. First-class snow grip and handling were ensured by the Nokian Hakkapeliitta TRI, the world's first winter tyre for tractors. Behind the wheel was Juha Kankkunen, multiple World Champion in rallying – who, by his own admission, was driving a tractor at high speed for the first time. The world record was set at an amazing 130.165 km/h (80.898 mph).
Image: Setting a record pace: Nokian Hakkapeliitta TRI, Valtra T234 and Juha Kankkunen, multiple World Champion in rallying.
Cooperation with the leading car manufacturers
Globally established car manufacturers can also appreciate unique winter tyre expertise. Cooperation with the leading car manufacturers has been a cornerstone of the product development of Hakkapeliitta tyres from the beginning. Strict standards and demanding tests with the best partners in the industry allow for the total utilisation of the state-of-the-art features of different car models. Over 20 quality brands have chosen products from Nokian Tyres for their winter tyre programme.