Tue September 6 03:34 pm 2016 in category Company news

80th anniversary of the first winter tyre for passenger cars

80 years ago, the Finnish Nokian Tyres came up with the first winter tyre for passenger cars, the latest generation of "Nokian Hakkapeliitta" still being manufactured and sold today. 

Invention of first winter tyre

The very first winter tyre called "Kelirengas" was invented in Finland as early as in 1934; however, this was only used for trucks and buses. Two years later, its passenger car version called "Nokian Hakkapeliitta" came into being, causing a revolution in traffic safety during the winter months. Nowadays, winter tyres are used wherever winter is experienced - over 700 million winter tyres roll along the roads all over the world, but back in the 1930s it was quite a revolutionary step forward.

What was the most important feature in the original winter tyre was its deep tread – at that time, it was normal to drive on snow. Gradually roads started to be maintained and sanded. Tyres thus had to do well both on ice and smooth snow, and on clean asphalt. That's why a special mixture and further innovations were necessary. In 1961, the first studded tyre called Kometa-Hakkapeliitta was introduced. This became instantly famous all over the world when it helped Finnish rally drivers repeatedly dominate the legendary Monte Carlo rally in the 1960s. In the 1970s, a non-studded version of the tyre was developed and introduced as well.

Development and success

Nowadays, different versions of winter tyres are developed for different markets taking into account local needs, such as climate conditions, state of roads and their winter maintenance. The latest generation of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta tyres achieved the world record for fastest car on ice, reaching a speed of 335.713 km/h on a frozen lake in 2013. The record was set by the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 studded tyre 255/35 R20. With technologies constantly improving, Nokian Tyres introduced a first prototype of tyres with retractable studs in 2014, enabling drivers to use studs only when necessary. In Europe, the Nordic non-studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 tyre is available, which is suitable for extreme conditions of roads covered with snow and ice. That's why in many countries it is used by emergency service passenger cars. On top of that it is the world´s first winter tyre with an A energy rating index. Nokian Tyres premium tyres are sold with success in more than 50 countries all over the world.

Hakkapeliitta – Hakkaa päälle!

There are several stories about the history of the name Hakkapeliitta. The Finnish cavalrymen who served in the Swedish military in the 17th century were called the Hakkapeliittas. When charging forward, the cavalrymen would shout their legendary battle cry “Hakkaa päälle!” Similarly, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tyre has battled the challenging road conditions for more than 80 years.

High-res images for press use are available at: 

More images including the historic Hakkapeliitta tyres you can find here: 

The history of Nokian Tyres – Over 80 years of winter tyres:


Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8: World record for the fastest car on ice, 335.713 km/h: www.nokiantyres.com/innovation/testing/fastest-on-ice/fastest-on-ice-2013/


For more information, please contact:
Jaroslav Nálevka, PR Manager McCann Prague, 00420 725 865 874, [email protected]

Zuzana Michalová, Marketing and Communication Specialist Nokian Tyres CE, 00420 603 578 855, [email protected]

About Nokian Tyres

Nokian Tyres was founded in 1988 and its roots go back all the way to 1898, when Suomen Gummitehdas Oy, or Finnish Rubber Factory, was established. The company is the world’s northernmost tyre manufacturer. It promotes and facilitates safe driving in demanding conditions. Innovative tyres for passenger cars, trucks, and heavy machinery are mainly marketed in areas with snow, forests and challenging driving conditions caused by varying seasons.

In 2015, the company’s net sales were approximately EUR 1.4 billion, and it employed 4,400 people at the end of year. Nokian Tyres’ stock is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki. Production plants are located in Finland and Russia. At the headquarters in Nokia, Finland, centralized product development is carried out and prototypes and test runs are completed. All products are developed with the goals of sustainable safety and environmental friendliness throughout the product’s entire life cycle. Nokian Tyres' global headquarters is located in Nokia, Finland, while its European management is based in Prague.

For more details about company, please visit: www.nokiantyres.com