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Driving in Winter

Goodyear Ultragrip 8- Winter Tyres from Pellon Tyres, Halifax Yorkshire UK

Goodyear tyres do it again with the Goodyear Ultragrip 8

As all my readers know by now Goodyear tyres are one of my best respected tyre companies and are for ever developing more tyre products to make for safer driving in winter conditions. This will help motorists to drive more safely and help offer a better product to us European drivers who will eventually have to fit winter tyres from November to March for safer winter driving.

Many EU countries have to fit winter tyres now including Bulgaria,Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium. IT is only a matter of time before we here in the UK will be following the same regulations as the rest of Europe and a good thing it will be too making our roads much safer in the winter months. A thing that I have been advocating for years.

This new tyre was introduced to us at a tyre launch in Seville Spain and announced as the Goodyear Ultragrip 8. This new tyre from Goodyear tyres offers the motorist more grip while at the same time giving a shorter braking distance which combined offer much better handling for the winter conditions.

 

Goodyear Ultragrip 8

The new Goodyear Ultragrip 8 winter tyre

 The Goodyear Ultragrip 8

Of course, is the first directional tyre using the latest generation of Goodyear’s highly effective 3D-BIS Technology throughout the entire tread pattern. Goodyear’s patented Three-Dimensional Block Interlocking System (3D-BIS) allows an increased number of sipes in the tyre’s tread.

The more sipes, the better the grip: A high sipe density gives extra grip on ice and snow because sipes provide edges which literally bite into the snow and ice for strong grip and traction as they open up before coming into road surface contact. To provide excellent handling and braking performance on both wet and dry roads however, the blocks need to be stiff and solid. For this Goodyear Ultragrip 8 engineers have developed the ‘3D Interlocking Effect’ of the sipes.

Inside each sipe, the walls have raised pyramids and holes. When the tread blocks come into contact with the road the sipes lock tightly thanks to this special waffle shape. This provides the required block stiffness for excellent handling and steering response on dry and wet roads”… http://www.goodyear.eu/uk_en/news/94003-Ultragrip_8/index.htm

Eric Roberts

 Another great tyre from Goodyear tyres.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts.

Pirelli Winter Tyres

Goodyear Tyres Early Days-How things were In the nineties.

Goodyear Tyres Early Days

Goodyear Tyres Early Days- no longer number one in 1990.

So, in 1990 the French company Michelin tyres. Bought out another tyre company called BF Goodrich tyres of America.This was a good acquisition for Michelin because Goodrich had previously merged with Uniroyal tyres. So making a massive tyre manufacturing conglomerate.

of course, in Goodyear tyres early days. Consequently, Firestone tyres and General tyres had suffered declining sales volumes. Subsequently, at the hand of Goodyear tyres dominance. Especially, in the radial tyre market. Firestone were taken over by Bridgestone tyres of Japan.

GOODYEAR TYRES Early Days

The famous Goodyear Eagle emblem

 General  were bought out by Continental  of Germany.

Due these amalgamations. These bigger companies had now grown into the same size as Goodyear tyres. So,  having an impact on Goodyears sales. Goodyear, had their fingers in other non-tyre ventures. Including the “All American Pipeline”. This company was producing operational losses and was costing Goodyear over $3 billion of debt. However, Goodyear tyres were slow to react and make changes . Resulting in the appointment of a Mr C Gault as chairman of the company.

Goodyear tyres were now suffering. Consequently, between 1989 and 1991 they shed over 12000 jobs, 10% of its workforce. Redundancies came mainly from the white collar section of the workforce. The giant tyre company also set about restructuring its factories with some closures and others being modified, this reconstruction of the company was estimated to save Goodyear tyres over $250 million a year in savings.

Goodyear tyres believed adamantly in the research and development programs

Of course, they kept up the spending on new tyre development. Something that GOODYEAR TYRES  were very passionate about. The company started to bring out new products on the back of these new developments. Passionately, new tyres began to emerge. First ones been the The Goodyear Eagle GT and the Eagle GA. I remember these tyre well, they were modeled for the more luxury cars in the early nineties. These new products helped Goodyear tyres to regain the market share that they lost to the Michelin group and in 1992 they restructured their debts to a more manageable amount of around $1.5 billion.

 Another great new tyre to come out of Goodyear tyres in the early nineties

 Of course, was the “Aqua tread”, which was an all season tyre sold around the World and will be remembered by older drivers. The new tyre was launched simultaneously across the globe. I remember attending the Goodyear tyres launch on their test track in Luxembourg and the tyre became a huge success.GOODYEAR TYRES Early Days

the excellent Goodyear efficient grip tyre  Eric Roberts

Van Wheel Alignment Including Suspension

Goodyear Tyre Leaders

Goodyear Tyre Leaders- Over the Years one of the Worlds Best Tyre Manufacturers

Goodyear Tyre Leaders

Goodyear Tyre Leaders Many changes over the years

Of course, over the past many years that I have been in the tyre industry. Goodyear tyres have always been at the fore front of tyre development and tyre technology. So, the company was started in the USA. Chiefly, after many years of tyre development. Goodyear Tyres were well established in the motoring world . Of course, this is when I started to take an interest in the tyre industry. Suddenly, after I became a failed mechanic (another story).Goodyear Tyre Leaders

In the beginning, I started working for a company by the name of “Tyreservices”. Which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Goodyear. It was hoped that Goodyear Tyre could run Tyreservices as a type of dealership. Replicating,the kind of tyre business that Goodyear did in the USA.

Unfortunately, this venture did not work out. Primarily, because in my opinion the British tyre market was was much smaller than the American market. So,to survive tyre retailers had to sell multi-brands to keep up with  the hot competition.

Goodyear were a premium brand

Of course, Goodyear tyre prices were kept highly inflated to try maximise profits. However, Goodyear owned a company called “Kelly Springfield Tyres”who had their own sales force. Consequently,who,operated separately from the Goodyear sales force.

Enabling branch managers like myself to sell Kelly but advertise them as cheap Goodyear tyres with free fitting . This ploy worked very well, all parties were happy. Kelly tyres were made of exactly the same rubber and produced in the same factory as Goodyear Tyre Leaders. This move to sell Kelly helped different branches to compete in their area, selling the Goodyear Car Tyres product but in the form of Kelly tyres.

We also got the chance to offer three grades of Goodyear tyres when they bought “Lee Tyres”, this became the third brand to be sold in the Goodyear name. The problem came when we entered another recession and all our sales dropped due to the lack of money from consumers (the same as it is at the moment). All the three Goodyear Tyre Leaders owned tyre companies began to argue with each other as the fight to sell tyres became tougher. The Goodyear brand became more difficult to sell . So, the sales of the cheap tyre went up. Because that’s all our customers could afford.

Goodyear tyres pay me for a cruise

We at the Huddersfield branch were doing extremely well selling Kelly tyres and I was often visited by the higher Goodyear Tyre Leaders management team to convert my sales to their products. One guy called John Evison was always trying to get the Tyreservices management to pursued me to buy their tyres, but I was a rising star in Tyreservices eyes as I had taken the Huddersfield branch into a £30,000 profit situation from a previous 5 years of losses, happy days ?. This by the way took me on a Caribbean cruise at the expense of Goodyear tyres and a great trip it was.

Eric Roberts

Van Wheel Alignment Including Suspension

Goodyear Tyre Leaders

Goodyear tyres still a great name

 

Goodyear Tyres Test Track-Tyre Tests in Luxembourg “Scared me to Death” ??

Goodyear Tyres Test Track

Goodyear Tyres Test Track-New Goodyear tyres “Vectra” tested in Luxembourg

I remember receiving a phone call from Goodyear tyres. Thus, offering a place for Peter and I to go to the Goodyear Tyres Test Track to Luxembourg. Hence, to attend the World launching of Goodyear tyres new product the “Vectra tyre”. This was a brand new product.Hence, from Goodyear Tyres. For this reason, would fit somewhere in the centre of Goodyear tyre price range. Hence, this was not going to be in the  cheap tyre range.But was an all season tyre giving the tyre good grip in all kinds of climates.

Peter and I did not know what to expect. Therefore, we happily agreed to attend. We flew to Heathrow Airport  in London. Where we were to attend a champagne reception. We  then were to board a jumbo jet to Luxembourg. This was going to be a top class weekend. I could not wait to find out what the next day would bring. It was all kept a secret by Goodyear. Unknown to us a similar event was also taking place in Donnington park the week later. But Peter and I were asked to attend the premier event in Goodyear Tyres Test Track Luxembourg.

Goodyear Tyres Test Track; Hanna Mikkola a Goodyear tyres test driver

The following day. After a top class meal in the hotel. S0, we were driven by coach to the Goodyear test track. Each party was given a number (raffle ticket style).

Goodyear Tyres Test Track

Goodyear Tyres Test Track-A typical Goodyear franchise in the USA will be fitting for Goodyear Online

Goodyear tyres had a fleet of bog standard Vauxhall Cavalier 1600cc saloon cars. Fitted with brand new sets ( of the then unknown), Goodyear Vectra all-season tyres. When our number was called out we were to proceed to the pickup area where we would be driven around the test track by a well known professional driver to test the tyres under very stressful conditions.

I do not remember all the drivers, but some were very famous and very fast. They were  Russell Brookes, Jacki Stewart, Donald Heggie and our driver first time round was no other than Hannu Mikkola. All these drivers were regular test drivers for Goodyear tyres, from rallying to F1 Grand Prix drivers, top class test drivers.

We were given crash helmets and got in the car driven by Hannu Mikkola, I made the first mistake by jumping in the front. The first part of the course was a straight ending in an 180-degree bend. Hannu revved the car to its limit and let the clutch out. My eyes nearly popped out and my stomach came up into my throat,(I think I screamed out but the engine gave off so much noise that I wasn’t sure). I was literary scared to death and I was totally pushed back in my seat with my eyes totally closed with fear, Peter was the same in the rear seat.

Goodyear Tyres Test Track

At these speeds in a bog standard, Cavalier the car and the tyres were making screams and noises that I have never heard before, I was literary frightened to death. The new Goodyear tyres did really well but were burned out after only two laps of the course, the driving was so intense. When we stopped Pete and I shot off to the beer tent and downed a few beers as fast as we could. Afterwards,  we sat at the same table as Hannu, who turned out to be a great guy and we had a laugh about our experiences over lunch. Alter lunch we both threw our tickets away and vowed never do this again, Goodyear tyres were great hosts and money was no object, but boy was I glad to get out of that car. 

 

 Eric Roberts

Goodyear Tyres Test Track

Goodyear Tyres Test Track-Vauxhall Cavalier as used by Goodyear tyre test team