Nokian Tyres broke ground for a new testing and technology center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain on May 25. The first test tracks are expected to be completed next year, while the technology center is slated to be fully operational in 2020.
Currently, Nokian Tyres has two test centers in Finland – Ivalo and Nokia. The establishment of the new technology and testing center in Spain which has a warmer climate will make it possible for the company to test all-season, all-weather and winter tires all through the year. The goal is to develop tires that are more eco friendly, can enhance driver safety, and are more performance oriented. The demand for tires with a higher speed rating is increasing in the North American tire market and the new technology center in Spain will make it easier for Nokian Tyres to expand its range of all-season tires.
Commenting on the new facility, Hille Korhonen, president and CEO for Nokian Tyres said that the new center has been in the planning stage for a long time as the company discussed the possibilities with the local authorities and other partners. He billed the technology center as the company’s next step for the future as it would offer immense potential for accelerating product development and expanding Nokian’s product range.
The center will have a vast 750-acre testing area comprising over 10 different test tracks. These test tracks will be used for testing the performance and durability of tires with the modern testing technology. The facility is circled by a 4.5 mile oval track where tires can be tested at speeds of up to 190 mph. The tracks can also be used for performing many of the tests that are needed for regulatory approvals like wet grip and rolling noise tests.
Pontus Stenberg, vice president of the products and technologies unit for Nokian Tyres said that the modern, versatile test tracks at the new technology center will be developed to specially customized to withstand the demanding development work that goes into every Nokian Tyres product. According to him, the hot climatic conditions in Spain are ideal for testing Nokian’s tires all year long.
Stenberg concluded, “Comprehensive testing and a thorough understanding of customer needs ensures that our premium tires are state-of-the-art and work reliably in all conditions.”
Testing will not be the only activity that will be carried out at the new center. The center will also serve as a place to accelerate sustainable product development and innovation. In 2017, Nokian Tyres was one of the companies involved in a research project that explored the use of the guayule plant for the production of more environmentally friendly tires. The guayule plant can survive under dry and barren conditions and is seen as a potential replacement for natural rubber. It is a viable alternative for local farmers who might find guayule cultivation more profitable than the cultivation of grains.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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