Eight Times Around the World: A Marathon Test for Goodyear's New, Award-Winning All-Season Tire
The All-Season tire segment is expanding rapidly, having witnessed around 21 percent growth across Europe over the last five years. It’s also a segment where motorists have high expectations, demanding a product that is well-balanced and can deliver high performance in all road and weather conditions.
For tire engineers, developing All-Season tires is therefore one of the biggest challenges. Alexandre Scharis, Technical Project Manager for Winter and All-Season Consumer EMEA, shares his insights on developing an award-winning All-Season tire.
Alexandre and his team faced the formidable task of improving the Vector 4Seasons Gen-2, an All-Season tire that has more awards than any other brand. This week the new Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 was awarded test wins by prestigious German magazine Auto Bild (issue 39-2020), as well as Tyre Reviews, the leading source of independent tire information in the world.
What makes the development process of all-season tire different from other tires?
Scharis: Actually, the development of an All-Season tire is the combination of the development of a summer and a winter tire. This means that we need to test our product under a wide range of weather and road conditions. For this purpose, we have test tracks at our disposal all year round in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Finland, France, the United States, Thailand and New Zealand.
All in all, our test drivers run a real marathon, because they cover some 320,000 kilometers at the wheel of our test vehicles. That’s the equivalent of circling the globe a total of eight times. This is the only way we can ensure that we receive the data we need to meet our highest development goals. In addition, around 36,000 engineering hours and 3,800 laboratory tests are required to achieve the desired performance characteristics of the new tire.
What was the biggest challenge for the development team?
Scharis: In tire development process we constantly strive to reconcile conflicting goals. All performance criteria must be balanced in the best possible way. The biggest challenge with All-Season tires is that we must add an extra dimension to the usual balancing act, because we must take winter and summer performance into account. It's all about avoiding weaknesses in individual criteria while at the same time achieving the targeted increase in performance.
What are the most important success factors for further improving an already leading product?
Scharis: The key factor for success is to find the right balance of performance. The Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons Gen-2 already has an unrivalled track record in independent tire testing. So, with the Vector 4 Seasons Gen-3 we wanted to make the best even better. To achieve this, we developed a new product that is extremely well balanced thanks to innovative materials and technologies.
What are you most proud of?
Scharis: The greatest success for our development team was to prove at the end of the project that the performance targets had been achieved. Goodyear is known as a pioneer in the All-Season segment and has a long history and great success in this area. Our engineers are very proud to be a major contributor to this new and improved product.
The Vector 4 Seasons Gen-3’s performance has been recognized by renowned magazines like Germany’s Auto Bild (issue 39-2020), who chose the tire as test winner of their all-season tire test and the UK online platform Tyre Reviews, who confirmed it as the test winner in the 2020 17” All Season Tyre Test.
Auto Bild also awarded the tire the prestigious “EcoMaster” title in recognition of its test-leading performance in the mileage, rolling resistance and price/mileage ratio categories.
What innovations are in the new Vector 4Seasons Gen-3?
Scharis: The product combines three key technologies. First, Snow Grip Technology provides improved grip on snow. The large number of special sipes in the center of the tread provide five percent better handling on snow compared to its predecessor.
Secondly, Dry Handling Technology offers reinforced tread and shoulder blocks that reduce the deformation of the tire under high loads, such as during sporty dry riding. Among other things, this results in five percent better dry braking compared to the previous generation of the tire.
Finally, the Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 maintains the impressive level of aquaplaning resistance of its predecessor through Aqua Control Technology, over long mileage and even as the tread depth decreases. It is comprised of innovative grooves that optimize water evacuation over the lifetime of the tire. The combination of these technologies creates an even better balance of all performance criteria in snow, wet and on dry roads.
 ETRMA, EDW & GFK 2016-2020
 All Season IPSOS study Dec. 2019
 Based on 34 tests conducted by 18 leading and independent European tire magazines from January 2015 to December 2019. The calculation is based on the number of tests Goodyear won in the all-season segment versus all competitors tested. More information is available at https://www.goodyear.eu/en_gb/consumer/legal-disclaimer-test-claims.html.
 Based on 34 tests conducted by 18 leading and independent European tire magazines from January 2015 to December 2019. The calculation is based on the number of tests Goodyear has won in the all-season segment compared to all tested competitors. For further information please visit https://www.goodyear.eu/en_gb/consumer/legal-disclaimer-test-claims.html
 Internal test, size 205/55R16 91V on VW Golf.
 Internal test, size 205/55R16 91V on VW Golf.
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs about 74,000 people and manufactures its products in 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.