Sailun Tire: Quality and Capability

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Feedback from both dealers and consumers, including real-world testing has proven very positive. Photo Jeff Maguire

Strong on and off-road performance and robust value make the Terramax RT a winning proposition.

One of the fastest growing tire segments in the light vehicle space is that of on/off-road tires. In fact, according to data from Acumen Research and Consulting, global demand is expected to nearly double by 2030, reaching $843 billion in sales (representing a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 7.3%). It’s perhaps not surprising then, that tire manufacturers are looking to carve out their own niche in the industry, delivering highly capable tires designed to appeal to a wide range of consumers.

In North America, where lifted light trucks and SUVs are becoming ever more common, consumers are demanding high-quality, rugged terrain tires at a competitive price point. The latter point is significant, especially given the rise we’ve seen in terms of inflation and borrowing costs over the last few years. That’s why, Sailun Tire Americas (STA) feels it’s very well positioned with its latest offering in this space, the Terramax RT.

Redefining the concept

High on capability and value, Saliun’s new Terramax RT represents an attractive option in the Rugged Terrain Segment. Photo Jeff Maguire

The RT stands for rugged terrain, and as if to prove a point, Autosphere was invited to put this new tire through its paces on a gruelling off-road course in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just outside Las Vegas, as well as extensive highway and gravel road driving. Our experience demonstrated that a huge amount of R&D, in conjunction with strict design parameters have resulted in a tire that aims to redefine the concept of what a rugged terrain tire actually is.

According to James McIntyre, Vice President, Sales, Canada, Sailun Tire Americas, an important consideration for the Terramax RT was that it effectively balances on and off-road performance. “A tire has to be aggressive in order for us to effectively play in this segment,” McIntyre explains, “yet we also know that over 60% of customers purchasing tires like this want them because they look aggressive on their vehicle, even though they might rarely, if ever, take it off-road.”

Another key consideration, especially in Canada and northern U.S. states is genuine 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMS) certification. Not only does this ensure optimal performance in heavy snow, but also peace of mind for consumers. Additionally, all light truck Terramax RT sizes are also pinned for studs, adding further flexibility in colder climates.

Besides the aggressive look and highly capable off-road performance, another key criterion for the Terramax RT was that it be comfortable and quiet during regular on-road driving. In the off-road tire realm, this traditionally hasn’t often been the case—many tires with aggressive sidewalls and tread patterns work very well out in the boonies, but when it comes to the drive home, often whine more than a hungry dog when in contact with the road surface.

“We wanted to ensure that the Terramax RT, in addition to its off-road and snow traction capability, had good enough manners that customers could put it on their vehicles and be content driving it on the street,” says McIntyre.

This was achieved by incorporating lug and sipe angles designed to optimize traction while delivering that smooth, quiet ride consumers expect today, notes Wayne Cuculuzzi, Vice President, Products and Product Development at Sailun Tire Americas. “This tire is designed to empower adventurers and off-road enthusiasts, giving them the confidence to explore the world with unmatched performance and durability while also providing a great ride for the daily commute.”

Staggered and scalloped

Other clever features incorporated into the Terramax RT include stone ejectors incorporated into the staggered and scalloped shoulder lugs, designed to continuously remove debris within the voids. “Sidewall protection was a key factor,” explains James McIntyre, “since we wanted to make sure that not only are you not carrying stones with you when you hit the road again, but that they aren’t flying up and hitting windshields on vehicles behind you.” Combined with a centre tread block design and Finite Element Analysis, the result is a highly civilized RT tire when it comes to on-road use.

Sizing is important, given the range of different size wheels available on vehicles today, both in OE and aftermarket fitments. As a result, Sailun offers the Terramax RT in 38 different sizes, covering everything from 17 to 22-inch wheels, with flotation sizes in 33, 35 and 37 inches.

Besides looks and performance, a key consideration for STA was pricing the Terramax RT competitively, especially in view of the brand’s reputation for delivering solid value in the North American marketplace.

“The price point for this tire didn’t change [as we looked to bringing it to market],” explains McIntyre. “We set out to create a tire that was top tier quality through design, development and testing but also one that we can genuinely say provides optimal value,” he says. “So, if you’re a consumer that’s in the market for a tire like this, you can look at the Terramax RT knowing you’re getting all the qualities expected in a premium tire from a well-established brand, but at a price point that’s value-driven and decidedly attractive in today’s marketplace.”

An aggressive tread pattern optimizes both on and off-road performance. Photo Jeff Maguire

Significant space 

For tire dealers, the introduction of the Terramax RT not only fills a significant space in the market for Rugged Terrain tires, it also provides them with a highly attractive offering for their customers, especially given increased price sensitivity in the current economy where many are looking for maximum value without compromising safety and performance. Furthermore, notes Jack McClure, PLT Segment Manager, Sailun Tire Americas, “If the customer happens to be an off-road enthusiast who already has another vehicle shod in Sailun rubber, the Terramax RT now provides them a quality, value-driven option when searching for tires for their lifted truck or SUV.” 

From Sailun’s perspective, the Terramax RT also represents an important addition to the portfolio as the brand looks to further reinforce its presence in the North American market. “We feel the Terramax RT strengthens us [as a brand] as the segment is one that we had not previously committed to,” says James McIntyre. 

He notes that feedback so far has been very positive both from a quality/performance and pricing standpoint, with robust re-orders from many dealers and end-user customers. “Consumers have been very positive about the look of the tire, especially once they get to sample it in action, noting how quiet and comfortable it is, as well as capable.” Such positivity bodes well for future sales, and it looks like Sailun has a real winner on their hands. 

“With the Terramax RT we have a real opportunity for greenfield sales, as well as rounding out our existing portfolio of offerings in the passenger and light truck segment,” McIntyre explains. “And from our perspective, we feel that gives us and our dealers a distinct advantage, especially as we refresh a lot of our existing products, as well as bring new ones to market, creating a whole range of offerings that appeal to both mainstream and niche customers alike.” 


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