Stepping up to the challenge
Growing an ever stronger foothold in the UK bus and coach industry is the plan at Giti Tire, the company behind the GT Radial brand. We have already brought you news of the company’s new tyre range designed specifically for PCV applications, but with the business now making strides towards achieving a greater share of the market, B&CB met with its Sales & Marketing Director, Tony McHugh, to see how the company is stepping up to the sales challenge.
Tony believes GT Radial is one of the key brands in Europe when it comes to CV tyres. Its range covers truck, 4x4s and buses and coaches. It has sold to the PCV market for many years, but until recently only supplied its truck tyres that could cross over into passenger transport applications. It was about eight months ago that it launched its coach and bus specific tyre range and with this launch came an inevitable marketing push into this sector, which lead to the company making its first ever appearance at Coach & Bus Live earlier this year. Attending the trade show was part of the company’s effort to ‘raise its prominence and presence’ in the market and it is fair to say its large stand at the show certainly achieved that. Tony said, ‘The emphasis on coach and bus tyres is building up.’
GT Radial’s first foray into PCV specific tyres was with the launch of the GAU861 Urban for all round fitment, which was launched at the CV Show in April and is the company’s flagship bus and coach tyre. GAU stands for Giti All round fitment Urban tyre. It has been specially designed for driving in town or city conditions with frequent stops and changes in speed and direction. It has an extra reinforced sidewall protector to resist the excessive curbing tyres in city bus applications have to contend with. Further to this, the GAU861 has been built to rebuff impact damage.
Giti Tire claims the GAU861 achieves good mileage performance, combined with good comfort and reduced noise. It is M+S marked, indicating good traction in muddy and wintry conditions. It is currently available in size 275/70R22.5, which Tony said was a ‘big segment’ for it to cover. On its EU tyre label, it is ranked E for fuel consumption, B in grip and has a noise rating of 73dB.
Speaking at Coach & Bus Live in October, Tony said, ‘The GAU861, that’s why we’re here today, to promote that. We believe we have a product that will do extremely well.’
The tyre is currently being trialled on an articulated bus and the company claims it is performing well. It is also on test at Heathrow Airport on shuttle buses. Introducing the GAU861 was only part of GT Radial’s push into the bus and coach market, as at around the same time it launched the GT629 bus and coach tyre. This product’s pattern is designed to deliver a quiet and comfortable ride in long haul operations. It features a new interlocking sipe design with open shoulder and sidewall protector ribs. M+S marked, it is intended to offer excellent all season traction with even wear and improved resistance to heel and toe. Available in size 295/80R22.5, it is rated D for fuel consumption, B for grip and has a noise rating of 74dB.
New Combi Road
GT Radial has not stopped with the introduction of its initial two PCV tyre options. In line with market demand it has recently added the GSR225 Combi Road steer axle tyre to its range, which sees it enter the growing multi-usage sector. Designed to perform in both regional and long haul operations across a wide range of commercial vehicles, it has specially developed tread and base compounds to improve mileage and a wider tread pattern to deliver excellent handling and extra resistance to tearing and curbing.
In addition, a new casing construction has been developed for increased load indexes to cater for the introduction of Euro6 regulations and the extra weight which added to the axle by emission filters and other air cleaning devices. The GSR225 Combi Road is initially available in size 295/80R22.5, with 275/70R22.5, 315/60R22.5, 315/70R22.5 and 315/80R22.5 available before the end of the year. Load indexes range from 148/145M to 156/150L.
Marketing Director Europe – Commercial Tires at Giti Tire, Peter Foulkes, said, ‘This is a hugely important development within the product portfolio, not only does it lay down a marker of what the company is capable of in terms of R&D, it opens up a whole new customer base. We have worked in partnership with some of Europe’s leading hauliers and coach operators to realise the final design, with hundreds of thousands of kilometres covered to ensure the best possible performance and build quality. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved, and the market will be suitably impressed.’
All new heavy bus and truck products are the result of the company’s advanced testing and evaluation programme, with more than 1,000 tyres on field test across Europe at any time.