NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A China-made tire isn’t necessarily a poorly made tire. Gary Schroeder, director of Cooper Tire’s truck business, says the company’s Roadmaster tires are engineered in the US and go through a three- to five-year evaluation process before they’re brought to market.
The newest of these tires to be introduced by Cooper Tire is the Roadmaster RM852 Energy Max SmartWay drive tire. It has been in development since early 2012 and a prototype shown at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s spring meeting still had plenty of tread left after 309,000 miles on the road.
“We set very aggressive rolling resistance targets as well as mileage and wear targets,” Schroeder said in an interview with Truck News. “Our engineers and chemists had to partner up to come up with a construction and tread pattern and casing that is going to live up to the mileage we’re looking for.”
The tire will officially be launched in March. It features a full 30/32nds tread depth and is SmartWay-approved. Schroeder said it will run for up to 350,000 miles and offer fuel economy that’s competitive with tier one tires at a lower price.
“The amount of engineering we put into these tires and the evaluation we do is equivalent to a lot of the premium brands,” Schroeder said.
Cooper Tire is growing its presence in the North American market. Its truck tire sales were up more than 13% in 2016. Schroeder said the company has grown its OE and retail presence and is now looking to add more fleet customers. It rolled out a national account program in the US, but hasn’t yet extended it to Canada. Roadmaster now enjoys standard position on Wabash trailers. Schroeder said work is now underway to grow its OE tractor business.
The company recently completed an acquisition in China that gives it more production capacity.
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