Pole position in winter safety

For over 80 years, the experience and pioneering attitude of R&D at Nokian Tyres has created patented solutions that improve safety and driving comfort in the demanding Northern conditions. The excellent success of our new Hakkapeliitta family of winter tyres, launched in 2013 on our core markets strengthened the company’s position as the manufacturer of the world’s finest winter tyres.

The comprehensive product range is carefully tailored for different markets, and it is renewed regularly; new products make up at least a quarter of our annual revenue. These new products help the company strengthen its position and maintain the necessary price and profit margins in a highly competitive market.

More than half of our R&D resources are spent on testing products. The company tests under authentic conditions in Ivalo, Finnish Lapland. North of the Arctic Circle, we develop test winner tyres that consumers around the world can rely on. Good winter tyres work logically and predictably under all conditions.

Continuous innovation

The R&D activities of the inventor of the winter tyre are guided by the concept of sustainable safety; the safety characteristics of the tyre should remain nearly unchanged for the service life of the product. The concept of sustainable safety also includes a promise of developing eco-friendly products and production technology.

Nokian Tyres was the first tyre manufacturer in the world to switch to only using purified, low aromatic oils. Eco-friendly products that save fuel and reduce noise as well as harmful emissions, and natural materials will also pave the way for Nokian Tyres in the future. Canola oil added to the rubber compounds improves the tear strength of winter tyres and provides more grip on snow and ice. In summer tyres, we use pine tree oil to improve wear resistance.

Continuous investments in new products and versatile testing allow the company to develop test-winning products with unique innovations, year after year. Intensive testing under actual operating conditions and laboratories, and a thorough understanding of winter and all the elements and characteristics of the product all work to serve the ultimate goal of product development – consumer safety.

In 2013, 56% of our winter tyre range consisted of “Nordic” winter tyres with high grip on ice. The proportion of tyres with especially low rolling resistance, which helps to reduce fuel consumption, was 64%. A total of 61% of the Nokian Tyres summer tyre products are in the very high wet grip category. The top tyres in terms of low rolling resistance and high wet grip correspond to categories A, B, and C of the EU’s rating system.

Versatile testing

Climate change poses new demands on winter tyres. Tyres need to ensure good grip on snow and ice as well as slushy and wet roads. The company co-operates closely with leading car manufacturers. The development of an entirely new passenger car tyre takes 2 to 4 years.

Our Ivalo Testing Center is expanding each year, simulating the extreme conditions of winter driving from November to May, both day and night. Our versatile testing center in Nokia offers flexible and unique conditions for utilizing high-speed photography and testing a tyre’s slush-planing properties, for example. To achieve comprehensive results, the tyres are also tested on several international tracks. In addition to our own tests, taxi businesses from the Nordic countries also take part in durability testing and the challenging development of new tyre models.

The wear resistance of Nokian Tyres’ products is based on careful structural development and testing. Our state-of-the-art testing machines allow for an even more effective comparison of the characteristics of rubber compounds, tread patterns, and tyre structures. Our high standard of testing was confirmed by FINAS (Finnish Accreditation Service), as it approved the company as an accredited testing laboratory.

Testing at the extremes Ivalo Testing Center “White Hell”

We test our tyres around the clock in the unique conditions of Finnish Lapland, using over twenty test tracks. The relentless testing and battle against the grip limits aim at even better winter products: more safety, more peace of mind. If a tyre works under the world’s most demanding winter conditions, it will work everywhere.

  • World’s northernmost testing center
  • Over 700 hectares of test area
  • Temperature variations of up to 40°C in a day
  • 6 months of testing per year
  • Over 20,000 winter tyres
  • Over 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) of testing per season
  • A 700-meter long ice hall also works as a test track

The world’s first winter tyre with retractable studs

With revolutionary Nokian Hakkapeliitta concept tyre and its unique stud technology the inventor of the winter tyre gives a hint of the things to come in the future. With a press of a button, the driver can bring out the studs to improve the grip of the tyre. When the studs are not needed, they can be retracted back into the tyre. New hybrid winter tyre combines consumers’ preferences: studded tyre for tough conditions to maximize safety and non-studded winter tyre for driving comfort. Studs are not used on dry roads and stable winter conditions, but they can be activated in icy weather for extreme safety. The studs on all four tyres raise and lower at the same time. The body of the stud remains in place, and the moving part is the hard metal pin in the middle of the stud.

80 years since the birth of the winter tyre
”Kelirengas” ”Weather Tyre” was the world’s first winter tyre

The north is the natural home of the winter tyre. In 1934, Nokian Tyres manufactured the world’s first winter tyre to match the winter frost. Two years later, the Northern winter witnessed the birth of Hakkapeliitta, the legendary snow road champion. The Kelirengas was designed for trucks; together with buses, they formed most of the road traffic in the 1930s. The winter roads were rarely used and narrow, and plows were not commonly used. The first Kelirengas sets were manufactured in the size 7.50–20. The Kelirengas was mainly designed to keep the vehicle on the road when the conditions were soft and snowy. The strong tread made the Kelirengas a winter tyre, as its transverse grooves gripped the snow like a cog wheel. The tread pattern was loose and it could clean itself well while driving, which in turn improved the grip. The entire concept of the tyre was based on a tread pattern with excellent traction. As the advertisement stated, “braking is more effective, and sliding sideways in corners and turns is entirely eliminated”.

  • 1898 Suomen Gummitehdas Osakeyhtiö is established.
  • 1932 Passenger car tyre production starts in Nokia.
  • 1934 “Weather Tyre”, first winter tyre in the world.
  • 1936 The legendary Hakkapeliitta winter tyre is born.
  • 1961 First winter tyre designed for studding. Kometa-Hakkapeliitta.
  • 2002 Nokian WR, the world’s first winter tyre with a W speed rating (270 km/h/167 mph).
  • 2006 The world’s largest winter tyre for passenger cars, the 22-inch Nokian Hakkapeliitta Sport Utility 5.
  • 2013 New generation of Hakkapeliitta winter tyres. Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 and Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2.
  • 2013 Fastest on ice. World record for the fastest car on ice, 335.71 km/h (208.60 mph), and Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8.

World record for the fastest car on ice Challenging the limits of the grip

The amazing world record for the fastest car on ice was set when test driver Janne Laitinen from Nokian Tyres achieved a speed of 335.713 kilometers per hour (208.602 mph) on the ice of the Gulf of Bothnia. Driving at these extreme speeds subjects the tyres to immense forces. The test vehicle drove at 93 meters (305 feet) per second on the bouncy ice track, and the studs hit the ice 43 times each second. Grip and speed like never before were ensured by the new Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 studded winter tyre.

Driver: Test driver Janne Laitinen
Vehicle: Audi RS6
Tyres: Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8,
255/35 R20 97 T XL
Location: Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu, Finland
Date: March 9th, 2013
Top speed: Over 340 km/h (211 mph)
Result: New world record for the fastest car on ice, 335.71 km/h (208.60 mph)