It’s a number of years since we took the opportunity to talk to Finnish tyre manufacturer Nokian Tyres about their role in the global truck tyre market and their position in the retreading sector specifically, but with new CEO Jukka Moisio now in place, we thought that now would be a good time to ask the company’s commercial tyre department for an update on their activities.
Finnish Manufacturer Outlines Aims for Retread Sector
Speaking to Manu Salmi, SVP Managing Director of Nokian Heavy Tyres Ltd and Ari Maunula, Business Line Director On-Road, Nokian Heavy Tyres Ltd, the first question we asked was what the key aims were for the Nokian Tyres brand in the European CV tyre sector.
“Nokian Tyres is traditionally known to be the leading premium winter tyre brand,” explained the company in a statement. “We focus highly on high-quality specialised tyres in selected markets such as agriculture and contracting, forestry, earthmoving and road maintenance, underground mining, ports and terminals, all-terrain trucks, truck and bus tyres, retreading materials and smart tyres. Safety comes always first in everything, and our target is to create peace of mind in all conditions. Our product range includes also non-winter tyres and the aim is to make people more aware of this.”
With regards to the latest innovations being made in these sectors, the company points out that these have been largely related to multi-use tyres. “Machines are getting bigger and more different kinds of tasks are done with single vehicles and machines,” says the company. “They also go faster. Development of autonomous vehicles is increasing as well. All these set new kinds of requirements for tyres as well. Our latest releases on multi-use tires are Nokian Tractor King, a tractor tyre for forestry, road maintenance and earthmoving as well as the Nokian Ground King tractor tyre featuring new Hybrilug technology that combines the best qualities of a traditional lug tyre and a block pattern tyre’s on-road qualities.”
The company says it also has an ambitious target to launch lots of new innovative high-quality tyres and increase safety in all aspects, and therefore Nokian Tyres have built a huge state-of-the-art Heavy Tyres R&D centre that will be fully up and running this summer. This is part of a larger production capacity investment made earlier.
One further innovation is the Nokian Tyres Intuitu smart tyre solution launched at the end of last year. “Smart tyre sales will start gradually this Autumn,” says the company. “Intuitu is an easy plug and play solution, all you need do is order smart tyres and download an app for your phone, and it will give you more savings, better safety and continued warranty among some other benefits. The Intuitu solution will be developed all the time and additional features will come.”
Meanwhile, the Nokian Hakka Truck range is aimed at the all-weather market – i.e. a central European climate. With this in mind, we asked whether this was part of an intential strategy to develop the brand’s position in the central European markets.
The strategy, answered the company, was based on several tactical ranges which are Nokian Hakkapeliitta Truck, Nokian Hakka Truck, Nokian E-Truck and Nokian R-Truck, in addition to which Nokian Tyres offers comes Noktop and E-tread ranges for retreading. The new ranges Nokian E-Truck and Nokian R-Truck has increased already the number of new customers and countries to the company, with availability being one key to success with an increased number of local Nokian Tyres CV sector people on the ground. All products are made in Europe supporting the growth target and ensuring availability and logistics efficiency.
On the specific subject of Nokian Tyres’ position in the retreading market, the company confirmed that main markets are still the Nordic countries, Russia and Europe, although North America has been identified as a potential growth market for the future. In the Nordics Nokian Tyres has the strongest network to offer to anybody who makes transportation in the area. As a result, the company is now looking to expand its service to the fleet sector in Europe as well as in Russia in the future.
Russia, says the company, has been a growth market for Nokian Tyres during the last few years. In fact, the number of Noktop customers in Russia is now higher than the number of retreaders in the company’s combined Scandinavian customer base. New tyre coverage in Russia is also claimed to be improving all the time. “Logistics is more challenging in a big market like Russia with big cities and long distances, but Nokian Tyres is able to offer a good structure and excellent market support,” says the company.