Goodyear is planning to make a big splash in the North American tire market again -- this time with the next-generation Aquatred all-season passenger-car tire that can handle even more puddles on the roadway.

Loyal Aquatred tire buyers will be amazed, company officials say. Goodyear's new Aquatred 3 dual-aquachannel tire delivers greater water- evacuating capacity than its predecessors -- due in part to the 7.6 percent greater aquachannel groove volume.

The world's largest tire company introduced the new tire to national media at this Colorado resort.

Bob Toth, marketing manager for auto tires, said the new tire's attraction is assured. Aquatred loyalty already runs high; nearly 65 percent of Aquatred owners replace their worn tires with new Aquatreds. (The industry average for other tires is about 40 percent.)

To further whet Aquatred buyers' thirst, Aquatred 3 delivers improved wet traction with a twist -- greater dry traction performance and an 80,000-mile treadlife limited warranty. The tire initially will be available in 18 popular broad market sizes.

Toth said Aquatred 3 also is needed to meet the global climatic changes that affect travel. According to studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, most of North America's rainfall is concentrated in heavy downpours between September and November.

While precipitation has risen about 1 percent worldwide in the last century, rainfall in North America has increased significantly. In the United States, rainfall amounts increased by 5 percent; along the northern tier states and in southern Canada, precipitation figures skyrocketed by 10 to 15 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To battle increased puddling on the roadways, Aquatred 3 tire features include:


* A 10 percent wider tread footprint on the pavement than its predecessor,
providing improved wet and dry handling. The tire uses a unique
"Touring" tread compound that earns a "AA" wet-traction rating, under
U.S. Uniform Tire Quality Grading standards, Goodyear's first broad
market tire to do so.
* Dry traction is improved by 6 percent, compared to Aquatred II.
* An ability to displace 18 percent more water than Aquatred II.
* An 8 percent improvement in wet braking distance. At 45 mph, that's
nearly 13 feet shorter than on Aquatred II tires.
* About 5 percent improved wet handling on a controlled course.
* An improvement of about 5 percent in steering feel/ride comfort, and
less tread noise.


The Aquatred 3 tire -- manufactured at Goodyear plants in Gadsden, Ala., Union City, Tenn., and Lawton, Okla. -- is T speed-rated up to 118 mph.

Tire sizes include P175/70R13, P175/65R14, P185/65R14, P185/70R14, P195/70R14, P205/70R14, P215/70R14, P195/60R15, P205/60R15, P195/65R15, P205/65R15, P215/65R15, P205/70R15, P215/70R15, P225/70R15, P215/60R16, P225/60R16 and 215/65R16.