Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 - Changing trends: Ready for the dramatic market shift
Beyond its technologies and performance, one of the most impressive aspects of the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 is the size of the range. By 2023, it will be available in no fewer than 65 sizes from 17 to 22-inch fitments.
This means the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 is truly ‘ready for anything’, not only in performance terms but in bringing Goodyear’s technology to drivers of many types of car. From compact performance hatchbacks through to crossovers, sports saloons, coupes and the power of hypersaloons, the latest tire covers many genres.
The European performance vehicle parc has changed radically in recent years. Whilst sales of small and medium cars (including standard and performance variants) still account for over 50% of European sales, this ‘A+B’ segment declined from 7.8 million to 5.7 million units in the 2009-2019 period1. However, total vehicle sales grew in the same period with the main growth being a growth in larger cars, including electrified saloons, crossovers and SUVs. For example, the SUV sector went from 1 million to nearly 5 million cars in the same period1. Whilst this segment traditionally was for off-road orientated vehicles, the main demand growth has been for road orientated models, with the performance-focused models attracting drivers who had previously been tempted by sports saloons.
Laurent Colantonio, Technology Director Consumer Tires EMEA, describes the impact of the blurring of the performance car sectors for Goodyear: “We have sizes in the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 range that are also in our Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 SUV range, but with a different performance focus. Drivers may like the higher driving position of a crossover, but they demand the same handling characteristics as a performance saloon.
“That’s why we focused on higher strength construction materials, introducing Dry Contact Plus and Wet Braking Pro Technology to make Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 ready for anything, on any type of performance car. We have been able to add these features whilst also reducing the weight of the tire, further enhancing its responsiveness and efficiency.”
Also notable is the acceleration towards electrification. In 2021, battery electric (EV) cars took a record 9% of the European market and hybrid (PHEV and HEV) also growing to a significant 20% share. Petrol car sales still lead the market with a 40% share1.
Growing market, growing cars
The hybrid, electric and crossover segments now include many powerful models that demand the latest ultra-high performance (UHP) tires. Power figures of over 400 hp and weight exceeding two tonnes are not uncommon in the performance car sector. Even the hot-hatch segment, where Goodyear Eagle F1 has been a test-winning choice for three decades, has seen a significant shift upwards in size and performance.
Take the Volkswagen Golf GTI as an example. When the Eagle F1 was first launched in 1994, the GTI was already on its third generation. With 115 hp and a weight of just over a tonne, it offered a spirited drive. By the mid-2000s, when Goodyear replaced the Eagle F1 GS-D3 with the Asymmetric, the Mk5 GTI had over 200 hp, but had gained 300 kg. A decade later the Mk7 GTI Clubsport delivered around 300 hp with a kerb weight some 40% higher than the Mk3.
This growth, mirrored in other segments such as performance saloons, had a significant impact on tire development. The latest Golf GTI models have 225/40R18 tires, with 19 inch options. Compare that with the 1990s driver, choosing 195/50R15 Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD-2 directional tires to enhance their GTI’s handling.
Colantonio outlines what this meant for Goodyear: “The weight of performance cars increased, as did the breadth of the sector with performance saloons and crossovers joining the traditional hot hatchback and sportscar models. The flagship 18 inch sizes of 20 years ago became the entry level for many performance cars. As tires became larger, we chose to move from directional to asymmetric design to manage the extra dynamic load. This market shift also led us to ensuring we were a step ahead of the trend by using higher tensile steel and other higher strength reinforcement materials.
“Increased safety, emissions and convenience options have driven the size and weight of performance cars upwards. The technologies in Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 are focused on delivering outstanding handling and performance as weight and power increases. The new generation of performance cars are electric, with over double the torque as some current petrol powered performance cars. Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 is ready for anything, including bringing outstanding driving dynamics to a thrilling new era of driving."
To read the rest of the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 6 press kit, click here.