Nokian Tyres is best known for its winter tires but with the opening of a major new US factory in 2019, the brand is expanding its presence in the North American tire market with additional products like the new One, which has gone on sale across the US and Canada.
The company is differentiating the One with an Aramid (Kevlar)-reinforced sidewall that’s designed to resist damage from poor road surfaces and potholes. It’s the first time the company has used the technology in a passenger car tire and is so confident in its performance that customers will be offered a free replacement tire under a Pothole Protection warranty. If the tire is damaged beyond repair within the first 40% of wear or one year of service, whichever occurs first, then the customer can bring the tire to their local shop for a free replacement.
Other notable features include an 80,000-mile (130,000km) mileage guarantee and a ‘driving safety indicator’ that shows the percentage of tread worn away. It’s located on the symmetrical tread pattern’s central rib, which is said to work with the robust shoulder blocks for good steering and handling response. Nokian adds that the high-volume water pockets help hydroplaning resistance, leading to much-improved wet braking and handling performance versus its outgoing eNTYRE 2.0 all-season.
Meanwhile zigzag sipes are cut into the tread for grip in slushy and snowy conditions, along with ‘grip enhancers’ in the circumferential grooves, although the One is not 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake-marked for full winter use. That’s because the tire is aimed at the mainstream all-season market, rather than the growing all-weather niche, and doing so would have led to a compromise in more important properties for the all-season customer, such as durability or noise, according to Nokian’s North America director of products, Steve Bourassa.
The One will be available in 70 sizes for 14-20in rims. Together with the One HT, which was launched last year for SUVs and light trucks, this will cover 91% of the all-season market, according to Nokian. The newcomer should also be available in more locations than ever before thanks to continued dealer expansion.
“We have a solid dealer base across Canada and the US snow belt, US,” says Nokian’s VP of sales for North America, Tommi Heinonen. “We know that in order to grow in this market, we have to expand in the southern and western states. This product will be a cornerstone of our expansion.”
Nokian says it’s still on track to double its tire sales in North America in the five years to 2023 – despite the challenges of the pandemic, during which its market share has grown.
The Nokian One will be built in Dayton, Tennessee, as well as at the company’s plants in Finland and Russia. The highly automated Dayton facility is billed as part of a wider commitment to sustainability, having recently become the first tire production facility in the world to earn LEED v4 Silver certification. It’s due to turn out 4 million tires a year by 2023.