GOODYEAR expects more business opportunities and even growth as the global car market shifts towards new ownership models such as subscriptions and ride sharing, as well as autonomous vehicles.
Though experts are predicting less vehicles on the road in future, which means less tyres, Goodyear Europe vice-president and chief marketing officer Mike Rytokoski told GoAuto at the launch of brand’s new Eagle F1 SuperSport tyre range at the Ascari track in Spain that the future looks bright for the company.
“We actually look at it (ride sharing) as an opportunity, and the reason being is very simple as our focus in on technology and any change that drives technology, it suits us well because I think we are well positioned for that,” he said.
“Now, who knows exactly what happens in the future … but some of the projections said initially there will actually be an increase in new-car sales because of all these changes and then after that there may be fewer cars, but the mileage driven will actually go up.”
Mr Rytokosk reasons that fewer cars may be on the road, but with constant use, consumables such as tyres will still need to be replaced more frequently, which is the same viewpoint Goodyear is taking with autonomous vehicles.
“How that plays out, we actually see that that’s probably an opportunity, more than anything else and the same goes for autonomous vehicles,” he said.
“And the great thing about autonomous vehicles is that it will provide mobility to people who today don’t necessarily have mobility.
“And when that happens, the projections are that the mileage driven will actually go up.
“Tyres aren’t going away, from our perspective we see it as an opportunity.”
As for how Goodyear will take advantage of the rise in new technologies, Mr Rytokosk said the brand’s penchant for innovation – as showcased by its annual Geneva motor show tyre concepts – will push boundaries.
“In order for the autonomous vehicles to really work, you need to have sensor technology so the vehicle knows what’s going on, identify if there are any issues, so that’s where the connectivity and technology is going to be very important,” he said.
“All these developments that are taking place, whether it is electric, autonomous or connectivity or ride sharing, we actually think that it is a good fit with our technology and the areas that we focus on, and we see ourselves increasing to being more a mobility company rather than a tyre company.”
At this year’s Geneva motor show, Goodyear displayed a concept tyre for a flying car, as well as the illuminating rubber used on the Golden Sahara II, a restored 1950s Lincoln Capri that was used as a testbed for autonomous technologies.
In previous shows, Goodyear also unveiled a spherical tyre concept dubbed Eagle-360 and a special wheel with moss growing along the sidewall to reduce CO2 levels.
Though Mr Rytokosk admits these concepts exist “to just stimulate the thinking and show what could be possible”, he said the technology for each show tyre has a basis in reality and ideas such as the connected tyre is already beginning to make its way to production for autonomous vehicle trials.