Nokian Tyres carries out innovative research and development work in order to provide consumers with safe, high-quality products for demanding northern conditions. Extensive investments in new products and thorough testing reinforced the company’s position as the manufacturer of the world’s best winter tyres and heavy special tyres in 2012.
The comprehensive product range is carefully tailored for different markets and renewed at a quick pace: new products account for at least 25% in the company’s annual net sales. New products enable the company to strengthen its position and maintain its target prices and margins in tough competition.
More than one-half of the R&D inputs are used for product testing. Nokian Tyres tests its products in unique conditions in Ivalo, Finnish Lapland. These arctic conditions provide an optimal setting for developing test winner tyres that serve consumers around the world reliably in any weather.
High technology and test success
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta tyres, created by the inventor of winter tyres, have achieved numerous victories in impartial tyre tests over the years. Hakkapeliitta tyres have done particularly well in snow and ice grip, the main elements of good winter safety.
In 2012, Nokian-branded winter and summer tyres gained incredible test success in the Nordic countries, Russia and Central Europe. The multiple test winner Hakkapeliitta 7 celebrated a world record with more than 30 victories in car magazine tests between 2009 and 2012. The Nokian Z G2, tailored for fast driving and aimed at Central European markets, won the comprehensive summer tyre comparison of the biggest European car magazine, Auto Bild.
Today’s tyres are a complex combination of physics, nanotechnology and advanced materials, each of which has a specific task. One example of a state-of-the-art modern product is the new Nokian eLine summer tyre with fuel efficiency and wet grip values representing the highest category available in the new EU tyre labelling system, the A class. The unique material and structural solutions of Nokian eLine will also be featured in future tyres.
In 2012, Nokian Tyres’ winter product selection was complemented with the Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT2 special winter tyres aimed at demanding SUV use. In 2013, the new generation of Hakkapeliitta winter tyres will roll out to consumers. Adding to the Nokian Hakka summer tyre family, the sporty Nokian Hakka Black was introduced. Moreover, Nokian Tyres revamped its entire summer tyre range aimed at Central Europe.
Leading the way in environmental friendliness
Nokian Tyres has acted as a bold frontrunner in environmental friendliness by being the first tyre manufacturer in the world to introduce tyres that are made using only purified, low-aromatic oils. Environmentally friendly products with lower fuel consumption and lower level of harmful emissions, as well as natural materials, will also play a key role in the future. Canola oil added to the rubber compounds provides higher resistance to tearing and improves ice and snow grip. The pine oil used in summer tyres improves wear resistance.
Innovative, environmentally friendly solutions are explored in the spirit of sustainable safety: the tyre’s properties must remain nearly unchanged throughout its life cycle.
Testing evolves continuously
The continuously expanding Ivalo test centre is the venue for simulating extreme winter driving situations from November to May, around the clock. The test centre contains more than 20 maintained ice and snow tracks, and over 20,000 tyres are tested there every year. The facilities also include a state-of-the-art testing hall with an ice track, and a precise, independently working robot car used for modelling tyre parameters.
The versatile test centre in Nokia provides flexible, unique conditions for such procedures as high-speed imaging and slush planing tests. In order to get comprehensive results, tyres are also tested on several foreign tracks.
A new indoor test hall in the proximity of the Nokia plant and test centre was inaugurated in 2012. This large, practical test hall with its modern, advanced test equipment enables even more efficient comparisons of rubber compounds, tread designs and tyre structures.
Nokian Tyres sees intensive testing in both laboratories and under authentic conditions of use, as well as a profound insight into winter weather and all the elements and features of products, as natural elements serving the ultimate goal of all development work: safety.