New Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 001 and Driveguard RFT debut in Singapore, plus find out why Bridgestone’s 18 years in the Lion City is actually 51 years
Bridgestone Tyre Sales Singapore Pte Ltd (BTSS) celebrated 18 years of business on March 30, 2019, with a commemorative dinner and the launch of two new tyre products, the Ecopia H/L 001, a green tyre for Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), and the DriveGuard RFT, the brand’s newest runflat tyre.
Registered in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone Asia Pacific, BTSS distributes Bridgestone tyres here for everything from cars to motorcycles, trucks, buses, and even karts, forklifts and agricultural vehicles.
Mr Matsukawa Yang, Managing Director of BTSS (above), revealed an interesting fact at the event by showing off an old tyre with the words ‘Made In Singapore’ on it.
Bridgestone Malaysia Pte Ltd setup the Japanese brand’s first overseas factory here in Jurong West in 1965, and after Singapore gained independence, the name was changed to Bridgestone Singapore in 1968.
“In August 1980 the factory was shut down, but it was an important foundation for the internationalisation of the company,” said Mr Yang. Bridgestone is currently the biggest tyre maker in the world.
So in essence, ‘Bridgestone Singapore’ actually celebrates 51 years here, rather than just 18.
Also present at the event, where awards were given to various Bridgestone dealers in Singapore, were (above second from left to the right) : Mr Kensuke Yoshida, Group Managing Director of Bridgestone Korea, Singapore, ASEAN Emerging Markets, Mr Agustin Pedroni, Vice President of Bridgestone Asia Pacific – Sales and Marketing, and Mr Eric Van Steen, Vice President of Bridgestone Asia Pacific – Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Mr Dennis Lee, General Manager of Sales & Marketing, Bridgestone Tyre Sales Singapore Pte Ltd
What is it: A new green tyre for SUVs
Who is it aimed at: ‘SUV owners who want everything’
How Much: From $125 to $296 recommended retail price without fitting.
What Size: The Ecopia H/L 001 tyre is available to fit wheels from 15- to 20-inches, with tyre profiles ranging from 50 to 75.
The Ecopia H/L 001 follows on the path laid down by Bridgestone’s premium SUV tyre, the Alenza, which it debuted in late 2017 – read CarBuyer’s test of the tyres here – and is itself a replacement for the Ecopia EP 850 model.
Compared to that model, the H/L 001 boasts improved tyre life, better wet and dry handling, better wet and dry braking, as well as reduced tyre noise and increased comfort, but with equally low rolling resistance, which translates to better fuel consumption.
Technology improvements include Nano Pro-Tech, Bridgestone’s trademark silica and polymer bonding tech, a new noise diffuser tread block, and improved tread design that increases contact patch, delivering better grip and tread life.
What is it: Bridgestone’s newest runflat touring tyre
Who is it aimed at: Drivers who want ‘normal’ runflats
How Much: From $173 to $349 recommended retail price without fitting.
What Size: DriveGuard RFT is available to fit wheels from 15- to 20-inches in size, with 35 to 65 profiles.
Runflat tyres (RFTs) used to be characterised by extremely stiff sidewalls, and accordingly stiff ride quality, but Bridgestone’s third-generation RFT aim to break that tradition by being just as comfy and ‘normal’ as well, normal tyres are.
Bridgestone already offers RFT options with its other tyres, including the green Ecopia, high-performance Potenza, premium SUV Alenza, so DriveGuard appears to be a mainstream RFT for just about any driver.
DriveGuard incorporates many signature technologies from Bridgestone, like the Ecopia H/L 001, new tread, compound, and Nano Pro-Tech improve overall tyre performance.
Unique to DriveGuard is cooling fin technology (this can be seen on the sidewall as a corrugated strip) that prevent overheating on a deflated tyre. The same fins also allow the sidewall to be less thick for the same strength, thereby making them less stiff and more comfortable.
Bridgestone says the DriveGuard model is aimed at the mass market and for drivers who often drive to Malaysia and beyond. The ability to drive at a maximum speed of 80km/h for 80km on DriveGuard tyres, even after total pressure loss, is certainly useful to have if you’re far from a service stop.
Another draw of the tyres is that they can fit any regular wheels, unlike some runflats which require the extended hump (EH2) wheel design in order to be fitted.
But there is still a requirement that the car should have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS, a feature becoming more common in mainstream cars) so that drivers know they’re not driving around on flat tyres until they explode.