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Goodyear Eagle Performance Tires Star on Chevrolet SSR.

AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ --

When the highly anticipated Chevrolet SSR roadster pickup hits the streets, it will be riding on Goodyear Eagle performance tires.

General Motors selected Goodyear to develop tires for the innovative specialty vehicle that goes into production in late 2002.

Goodyear engineers used computer modeling to develop super-wide Eagle RS-A performance tires in an accelerated program. "Think of it as tire development on steroids," says John Eagleburger, Goodyear team leader for the General Motors account.

They still are fine-tuning the tires that took less than six months to engineer, Eagleburger said. The massive asymmetric performance tires in P255/45R19 for the front and P295/40R20 for the rear will propel the V8- powered vehicle.

Jim Martell, Goodyear account executive for General Motors, said General Motors and Goodyear worked together from the beginning. "This was a major effort to develop a production tire so quickly for an all-new vehicle. "This exciting vehicle truly represents the engineering prowess of all involved," Martell said. "The Chevrolet SSR on these radical Eagle tires will roar."

Goodyear originally developed the concept tires -- featuring Chevrolet's bow-tie icon in the tread pattern -- for the SSR concept vehicle, first shown at Detroit's 2000 North American International Auto Show and later seen cruising the city's famous Woodward Avenue.

The Chevrolet SSR combines the features of a convertible roadster and a pickup truck with a power convertible hardtop and a covered cargo bed. Response from customers and media was so strong that General Motors decided in August 2000 to produce the innovative roadster. When development of the production version of the SSR began in early 2001, Goodyear received the go- ahead to begin engineering and computer-modeling tire candidates.

GM selected the proven Eagle RS-A (Rally Sport-Asymmetric) all-season performance-tire design based on three-dimensional virtual tire models. Eagleburger said computer tools and an accelerated schedule for the SSR (Super Sport Roadster) program allowed Goodyear to submit tires by June.

Front and rear tire size differentials provide maximum balanced handling. Computer modeling determined optimum wear balance and traction capabilities before pre-production tires were manufactured, he said.

The H speed-rated tires are capable of sustained speeds up to 130 mph. A wide tread width delivers excellent dry traction. Higher lateral stiffness on the tire outside shoulder offers improved dry handling, he added.

Lower stiffness and increased blading on the inside shoulder of the asymmetrical tread pattern provide increased wet- and snow-traction. Asymmetrical circumferential grooves add to the Eagle RS-A all-season capability. Steel- and nylon-reinforced tread belts enhance the tire's steering response.

Nick Hill, Goodyear automotive engineer for General Motors, said Chevrolet also sought ride comfort and precise handling -- delivered by an optimized tire shape and lateral groove density.

Eagle RS-A tires in these unique sizes will be made in Goodyear's Lawton, Okla., manufacturing facility.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 10, 2001
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