General Tire brings ‘European tech at Japanese price’



Continental-owned General Tire launches in Singapore with two models, aims to deliver European quality/features at a lesser price 

Photos: General Tire, Derryn Wong

SINGAPORE

A new tyre brand has come to Singapore: General Tire.

The new brand, which is the official Tyre Partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC),  was launched at the UFC Fight Night event at the Indoor Stadium,

While it may not be a familiar name here, the American tyre brand (hence ‘tire’ vs ‘tyre’) has been around for more than 100 years, it being set up in 1915 by William O’Neill in Akron, Ohio as The General Tire and Rubber Company.

Since 1987 though, the brand has been a fully owned subsidiary of Continental AG (through Continental Tire Americas LLC), and is made with access to Continental’s technology and resources, but as a more mainstream brand.

You could call it the tyre equivalent of Skoda, in a sense. Skoda returned to Singapore in March this year, and also aims to offer European technology and features in a less-expensive form.

The product range kicks off with two products, both universal purpose (small hatch, sedan, crossover, van) the Altimax Comfort, and Altimax Sport.

These tyres are from General Tire’s European line of products, and are manufactured in Europe.

Both tyres have a couple of unique, consumer-friendly features that take a bit of the guesswork out of tyre wear: Replacement Tyre Monitor (RTM) and Visual Alignment Indicator (VAI).

The RTM is an interesting take on the usual tyre wear indicator. It’s a strip of letters that sits on one of the central tread sections saying ‘Replacement Tyre Monitor’. Once the tyres are worn out, the shallower letters disappear, so it simply says ‘Replace Tyre’.

The VAI is a small icon that sits on the shoulder blocks, and will wear away if the tyres are out of alignment.

The Altimax Comfort is aimed at smaller cars, and prioritises fuel saving, low rolling resistance, stable wet handling and braking, low aquaplaning risk, as well as a comfortable and quiet ride.

It’s available in a variety of sizes, to fit 13-inch to 16-inch wheels.

The Altimax Sport is a sport tyre that can fit anything from a compact hatch, to a crossover, or a large limousine – General Tire expects it to be the mainstream seller here.

It prioritises precise steering and supportive driving on curved roads, has a modern silica tread compound that ‘bridges the gap between wet performance and rolling resistance’.

Exact pricing information is to be announced soon.

In its domestic market the USA, it’s the 11th ranked tyre brand, and has a three percent market share, or approximately 6,150,000 units. That’s equal to Falken, below Continental and Yokohama (four percent each), and above Toyo (three percent) and Kumho (2.5 percent).

In Singapore, General Tire aims to bring a unique combination of traits to tyre buyers: Continental’s European technology and build quality, a mainstream price point, and American branding/heritage.

“General Tire offers a unique proposition of European technology and performance at a  lower price point, closer to that of Japanese tyres,” said Cameron Wilson, head of Asean and India business unit, and managing director of Continental Tyre Malaysia.

General Tire will be distributed by local tyre/wheel stalwart Stamford Tyres.

“I think, in Singapore, General Tire will appeal especially to younger consumers, who expect a high level of technology, but also are price conscious,”said Mr Wee Kok Wah, president of Stamford Tyres. Mr Wee was also responsible for distributing General Tire here three decades ago, before it was part of Continental.

General Tire representatives declined to name any direct competition, but it can be inferred that the products will be in a similar price bracket to mainstream Japanese tyre brands like Yokohama or Falken, as well as Bridgestone’s more mainstream tyre models.

 

about the author

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Derryn Wong
Has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. Is particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.