Tue February 6 01:54 pm 2007 in category Product news
Nokian Tyres plc
Release 6 February 2007

Unique safety from the leading winter tyre manufacturer

Nokian WR – the new winter tyre with

outstanding slush properties

In 2006, about 67 million passenger car winter tyres (M+S designated tyres) were sold on the European car tyre replacement market. Sales of winter tyres are growing rapidly: 12% from 2005 to 2006. Factors influencing the increased demand for winter tyres include a growing desire for safety, a better standard of living (particularly in Eastern Europe), traffic and driving regulations, and varying, unstable weather conditions.

Research shows that European drivers primarily expect winter tyres to provide safety. Drivers appreciate the fact that winter tyres allow them to drive safely in all winter conditions, even in slush.

The new Nokian WR was developed to meet the needs of Central European consumers. It is a very high-performance winter tyre, and winter experts from Nokian Tyres focused on meeting consumer needs during its development. The aim was to offer drivers a tyre that can handle complex, variable winter weather conditions. Special attention was paid to the tyre’s ability to resist slush planing.

The previous-generation Nokian WR was launched in 2002 and has gained respect and test success in Europe. The new second-generation Nokian WR takes safety to a completely new level: all the key product features have been significantly improved.

The unique slush properties have not been achieved by sacrificing other basic features of a good winter tyre. The Nokian WR is excellent for driving on snowy roads and bare asphalt, even at high speeds. The Nokian WR is also good in wet conditions: it has good grip, remains stable and stops precisely on wet and watery surfaces.

Nordic know-how works: dangerous slush is pushed aside

The Central European winter weather conditions have become more challenging. Extreme weather phenomena are becoming more common, with winter storms battering the European continent and violent blizzards and downpours becoming commonplace. Temperature changes occur rapidly and unexpectedly. Below freezing temperatures quickly rise to around zero (Celsius), and the snow cover on the roads becomes slushy.

Slush is a common and dangerous form of water in winter traffic. Rising temperatures change snow into watery slush, but slush also occurs when roads are treated with salt to reduce icing. Slush makes driving more difficult and turns travelling into an unpleasant, even frightening experience.

Nokian Tyres is the northernmost tyre manufacturer in the world. It has developed and produced respected winter tyres for more than 70 years. Nokian Tyres tests its products under demanding and extreme conditions, and at the beginning of the 1990s it became the first company in the world to develop unique slush planing tests for winter tyres. During these 15 years the company has gained outstanding understanding and competence regarding slush planing. Efficient testing methods have helped make Nokian WR a unique product; the most important competitor tyres are more than 10% poorer in terms of slush properties.

The superior slush grip is based on new technical inventions and innovations: the slush edge, a non-symmetrical tread pattern and polished grooves. The inner shoulder on the asymmetrical tread pattern is sharply tapered and wedge-shaped. This slush edge begins to work when driving in slush: it effectively pushes the heavy snow and water mass to the side, out from between the road and the tyre. At the same time, it enhances the action of the lateral grooves. The polished grooves speed up the removal of water and slush.

Grip and stability in snowy, wet and dry conditions

Central European winter tyres are expected to have diverse product properties. In order to achieve this, an ultra-modern asymmetrical tread pattern was designed for the new Nokian WR.
The shape and siping of the outer shoulder makes the tyre easy to handle and stable to drive on all surfaces. Above all, the inner shoulder ensures outstanding grip.

The new power on/off stabilizer innovation enhances tyre safety and driving qualities in all situations, and particularly during sudden acceleration. The stabilizer ensures that the tread pattern, which provides such good grip, doesn’t flex too much. This means that driving stability remains outstanding, even on a dry surface with good grip. The stable and logical tyre increases traffic safety, especially when passing and on curves.

The rubber compound used in the Nokian WR is made of silica and plant-based canola oil, which is made from a natural raw material. The compound improves the tyre’s wet weather properties and enhances tyre handling. The natural oil increases tear resistance and improves tyre grip in cool weather. The new compound reduces rolling resistance: an easily rolling tyre reduces fuel consumption.

A completely new siping solution has been developed for the Nokian WR tyre. The 3D self-locking siping located in the central rib progressively supports the tyre in the lateral and longitudinal direction, and particularly improves driving stability and wet grip.

Effective wet grip during braking

The Wipe sipe innovation sweeps water away from the road surface when braking. The outermost sipe on the tyre shoulder blocks is completely straight and slightly wider than the zigzag sipe that provides snow grip. The straight sipe allows the tread bar to yield so that its edge acts like a windshield wiper on a wet surface: it sweeps water away from the tyre’s contact surface. Simultaneously, the tread bar surface in contact with the road gains a good grip on the surface. The structure and size of the straight sipe ensure that Wipe sipe works optimally throughout the tyre’s service life.

The marks and indicators on the tyre sidewall and tread make driving and tyre maintenance easier. The Driving Safety Indicator (DSI) indicates groove depth in clear numbers. The Winter Wear Indicator is a small snowflake symbol in the bottom of the groove. When the snowflake wears off, groove depth is less than 4 mm and the tyre is no longer safe for demanding winter use.

The tyre fitter or driver can select the correct tyre pressure value from the sidewall info area as a reminder for checking the pressure. A simple line drawing illustrates the tyre’s installation location, which makes mounting easier after seasonal storage.

Sustainable safety with respect for the environment

The birch leaf symbol on the sidewall of the Nokian WR describes environmental friendliness: no harmful oils have been used as softeners in the tyre. The compound includes canola oil.

Respect for the environment is one of the fundamental values of Nokian Tyres. The company has systematically worked towards minimising environmental hazards. Nokian Tyres was the first tyre manufacturer to switch over to using only purified, low-aromatic oils in its production. Raw material and material choices are aimed at avoiding unnecessary burdens on the environment. The principle of sustainable safety guides our operations: the target is to produce durable tyres that retain their good qualities throughout their service life.

Extensive range of sizes

Retail sales of the Nokian WR will begin in the autumn of 2007 in Central and Eastern European countries. One of the largest size selections will be offered right from the start: 33 different tyres, ranging from a 14-inch tyre in the T-speed category all the way to a 20-inch product in the W-speed category. The selection will be significantly expanded during 2008. The majority of the tyres have a reinforced structure and the XL designation.

Important product improvements and innovations

- Outstanding slush properties
- Excellent handling on both snowy and dry surfaces
- Extreme wet performance

- Slush edge
- Silica-canola oil compound
- 3D self-locking siping
- Wipe sipe

Further information: Nokian Tyres plc

Teppo Huovila, Product Development Manager, tel. +358 3 340 7701
Petri Niemi, Product Manager, tel. +358 3 340 7741
Matti Morri, Technical Customer Service Manager, tel. +358 3 340 7621

Nokian WR product presentation