Prediction: Tire Buyers are Getting 'Fierce'

AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 3 / -- With the announcement today, tuners and sport-performance enthusiasts have a chance to get Fierce when they shop for tires in select retail tire outlets. While not necessarily a behavior characteristic, rather a new product line targeted at auto enthusiasts, the Fierce brand is available in three different tire types - high-performance, ultra-high performance and sport truck.

These three fast-growing tire segments represent areas of extreme focus for enthusiasts who modify their vehicles. Research shows that tires rank second in vehicle modifications in the sport compact segment, just behind exhaust components.

"For these enthusiasts, whether they own a tuner-car, sport truck or sleek sports sedan, a change in their tire-and-wheel package is among the easiest of modifications to make, yet it probably carries the best bang-for-the-buck in terms of both appearance and vehicle performance," said Chris Magana, marketing manager for Fierce.

Offered in the new line are the Fierce HP (High-Performance), Fierce UHP (Ultra-High Performance) and Fierce ST (Sport Truck) tires. Magana noted that ultra-high performance and sport truck are the two fastest-growing segments in the consumer tire category.

Fierce HP is available in 16 initial sizes, ranging from 16-18" wheel diameters. This includes 40, 45 and 50 aspect ratios. A directional tread design with a continuous centerline rib helps provide outstanding wet and dry traction while supplying a smooth and quiet ride. The tread compound helps deliver excellent wear characteristics, and a rim flange protector helps to guard custom wheels against curb damage.

Offering a low-profile, wide footprint and Z-speed rating, the Fierce UHP provides a combination of ultra-performance appearance and enhanced handling. A directional tread design and natural-flow grooves help sweep away water from the road surface, and shoulder tread elements help provide strong cornering and traction. Twenty sizes comprise the Fierce UHP's lineup in rim diameters from 15-18", with more sizes being added later this year.

The new design of the Fierce ST features a distinctive three-dimensional and directional tread. The design elements are intended to provide outstanding wet and dry handling, along with a performance appearance that appeals to prospective buyers. A spiral wound cap ply helps provide ride comfort, while the full-width, high-density steel belts help provide superb handling and long, even tread life. This tire begins with one 18" and two 20" sizes, and several additional sizes are coming later in 2006 - including offerings in 22" wheel diameters.

"These are entries that fill an available product niche for many tire retailers, and offer great excitement and appeal to performance enthusiasts," Magana said. "This new family of tires not only addresses consumer demand, but adds style and performance at a great value."

Marketing support for Fierce will be provided to retailers in the form of point-of-sale materials, newspaper ad headers and 30- and 60-second radio spots.

CONTACT: Jim Davis of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, +1-330-796-4114

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