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Goodyear defends Eagle-360 concept tyre

Round and round: Goodyear’s Eagle-360 concept tyre debuted at 2016’s Geneva motor show and previewed a potential future product that allows vehicles to turn in any direction.

Radical ideas important for innovation in tyre industry, according to Goodyear

8 Aug 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN in THAILAND

GOODYEAR has hit back at critics of its ‘outlandish’ Eagle-360 concept tyre revealed at last year’s Geneva motor show, justifying the existence of the show tyre as an important conceptualisation product.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the EfficientGrip Performance (EGP) SUV tyre in Thailand last week, Goodyear Asia Pacific vice-president of product development David Zanzig said it was crucial for the brand to push boundaries.

“We think that it is important to challenge ourselves, to think outside of the box, because it is very important that we develop tyres in our current manufacturing process, but also something that like a spherical tyre that is outside of our existing manufacturing capability,” he said.

“We’re looking at product technology with manufacturing technology and also thinking about some of the trends in the automotive industry.”

Mr Zanzig revealed that Goodyear looks for inspiration for potential future products in nature and that the technologies developed from concepts could filter into production tyres.

“One of the nice things about the Eagle-360 is you can go different directions, and then we start to also look at things like bio-mimicry, studying nature to get concepts of how our materials could be more responsive,” he said.

“Do we have anything we could put into the market today? No, but we believe that we’ll be able to take elements of that out and put it into our products.”

In response to critics – namely Pirelli – which criticised the spherical tyre for being too radical to make it to production, Mr Zanzig said it was important for Goodyear to be able to develop products creatively, instead of restricting its efforts to the present.

“One thing that I found is when you try to go too much to your existing process, you constrain your engineers and you lose your innovative thought process,” he said.

“So I think definitely we try to balance what we can try to bring to market quickly, but you need to have that concept work to fuel creativity.”

Goodyear Asia Pacific vice-president of consumer tyres Mike Rytokoski reiterated the importance of developing for the future.

“We’ve been around for 119 years and we plan to be around for another 119 years so therefore we think it’s really important to think a little bit beyond the short term,” he said.

“Like hey where is the industry going, where could it go, where could it lead to, what could we change, what are the long-term opportunities?”

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