By David Shaw, ERJ staff
London - The truck tyre market is becoming increasingly segmented, according to Continental's most senior truck tyre engineer. Dr Frank Walloch, director of Continental's tyre development activity for EMEA said fleets are increasingly demanding tyres which meet the precise needs of their region; application and road conditions.
Walloch said the old assumptions of building extra-heavy duty tyres for markets in Asia and India are no longer enough. He said in the passenger carrying markets such as buses and coaches, comfort is increasingly a factor and noted that some manufacturers are already meeting this need with tyres aimed specifically at that application.
Generalising, Walloch agreed that - as in the passenger car tyre business -- there is more and more feedback from the marketing team back to the engineers about the precise needs of the customers, and the engineers are under pressure to tweak the tyre characteristics to meet these new market niches.
The key demands remain - and will continue to remain lifetime and then fuel economy and wet grip. Beyond these, however, specific applications require extras such as comfort, or better kerbing protection or slightly different compromises between the various target conflicts. Meeting these needs creates differentiation, he said and that can lead to increased business.