The growing popularity of SUV-style vehicles and larger option tyres have led to a South African first for Continental Tyre SA, which has now produced its first 19-inch tyre.
Previously the Continental Tyre plant in Port Elizabeth had the capacity to manufacture up to 18-inch tyre sizes, with the launch of the 19-inch General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyre representing a significant achievement for the domestic operations.
“Local production of the first-ever 19-inch tyre in the Port Elizabeth plant opens the door for our further expansion in the crucial replacement tyre business, and prepares Continental Tyre for new opportunities in the 19-inch original equipment business,” says Shaun Uys, MD of Continental Tyre SA.
“In the past, we had to import these tyres from other plants around the world. By producing them locally we are bolstering our manufacturing capacity, improving our economies of scale, and are able to respond to growing customer demand for the larger-diameter tyres, specifically in the increasingly popular sport utility vehicle segment,” Uys adds.
The original concept for local production of the 19-inch tyre was born at the Port Elizabeth plant in 2017, and presented to management during the Plant Operations Review towards the end of the year.
Following the extensive global and local approval processes, the ordering and introduction of the necessary tooling for stock preparation, tyre building and final finish followed. The first experimental tyre was built in early 2019, and mainstream production of the new 255/55 R19 Grabber AT3 commenced in the second quarter, with volumes steadily increasing to satisfy the growing customer demand.
The General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyre was developed to meet the needs of sport utility, light commercial and off-road vehicle drivers who require a combination of exceptional off-road capabilities and confident on-road manners. This innovative new tyre size is ideally suited to a wide range of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) fitted with large diameter lower-profile 19-inch tyres as original equipment, including the likes of the BMW X5, Ford Everest, Land Rover Discovery, and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
The pattern design achieves exceptional off-road grip through gripping edges that interlock with loose surfaces. The open tread ensures efficient self-cleaning action for added traction in mud.
Tread with robust compound and reinforced blocks ensures a long tyre life even in rugged terrain. Moreover, it delivers confident stability under all approved load conditions with ultra-high strength steel belts.
Uniform block geometry for even material distribution and optimised tread block orientation for a smooth interaction with the surface: both features allow a considerably comfortable and pleasant on-road drive in an all-terrain tyre line.