Falken makes its move into truck and bus tyre supply
The world’s sixth largest tyre manufacturer, Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), cemented its own future in the Australian market back in March 2015 as the result of the purchase of local tyre distribution companies Transport Tyre Sales (TTS) and Summit Tyres Australia.
With 11 global tyre manufacturing facilities, SRI produces tyres for passenger cars, light trucks, trucks and buses, motorcycles and agricultural machinery. Sumitomo Rubber Australia (SRAU) is the local subsidiary and manages three brands – Falken, Sumitomo Tyres and Ohtsu.
With its head office based in Chipping Norton, Sydney, the new company of Sumitomo Rubber Australia Pty Ltd (SRAU) was founded to oversee the importation of its performance car, SUV, 4WD and truck tyres that are marketed under the Sumitomo, Ohtsu and Falken brands. Previously, Falken products had been distributed independently by Transport Tyre Sales, a division of Haulmark Trailers.
As the Falken name has gained recognition in the passenger car and performance car segments, the company has recently announced a new range of Falken truck tyres, including the release of a selection of large and small/medium truck tyres for highway regional/interstate and mixed on/off-road applications.
“We’re excited to be reintroducing ourselves to the Australian trucking industry with no less than 24 truck tyres changes – and we have more in the pipeline,” announced Ken Furuhama, managing director of SRAU.
“Whilst we designed the new products with abrasive Australian roads in mind, the take-up of some products has been impressive, with BI850 being the standout,” said Mick Small, SRAU’s technical service manager.
“Tipper/dog and livestock operators have quickly adopted it, with great results coming from the 22.2 mm deep open traction pattern and mild cut/chip resistant compound”.
To further validate the new tyre range, SRAU has conducted extensive testing in Australian conditions with fleets.
“Falken and Sumitomo tyres have always performed well in our tipper and dog operations,” explained Paul Gates of Illawarra, NSW-based Gates Haulage.
“We have been running the new Falken BI850 drive tyre for over six months now. Basically, they’ve become the standard fitment for all of our PBS combinations,” Mr. Gates added.
Mount Gambier-based Raymond Scott Transport also commented on the results Falken tyres have been producing, as explained by managing director Ray Scott:
“The Falken RI128 super single steer gets much better life, with a sharper price point, so it is much more competitive than the major brands we’ve run in the past. What’s most impressive is that all Falken truck tyres are made in Japan, so you’re buying top quality,” said Mr. Scott.
The key new products in the Falken truck tyre range include tread patterns designed for highway, regional and interstate use.
The two new steer tyre patterns are also suitable for multi-position fitment and are the RI151 in six sizes – 295/80R22.5, 265/70R19.5, 225/70R19.5, 235/75R17.5, 215/75R17.5 and 205/75R17.5.
Also available is the RI150 in size 255/70R22.5 to suit medium trucks and drop-deck trailers.
The BI851 drive tyre has two pattern designs and four sizes. The 295/80R22.5 line-haul drive has a six-block pattern, while the narrower 205/75R17.5 and 215/75R17.5 delivery truck sizes, and 235/75R17.5 have a five-block pattern.
The BI850 deep traction drive tyre has been introduced in the most common 11R22.5 size. The BI877 is a four-block traction design for popular mid-sized trucks running tyre size 225/70R19.5.
In mixed on and off-road applications Falken has extended its product range for the construction and mining industries with new mixed service and off-road tyres now available. The GI388 is an all-position tyre, suitable for steer, drive and trailer, with deep cut resistant tread and offered in sizes 315/80R22.5 and 11R22.5.