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Sumitomo Tires Review - Overview
According to a 2019 Tire Business report, Sumitomo Rubber Industries was founded in 1919 in Osaka, Japan, and is the world's fifth-largest tire maker. In some regions, Sumitomo produces its own tire line and Falken, Dunlop, and Ohtsu tires.
Sumitomo manufactures a wide selection of tires, including sub-brands. However, the company only produces a limited number of models. It has a larger assortment of all-season and performance tires, but it does not have the most extensive collection of all-terrain or winter tires.
In today's tire market, Sumitomo tires are a must-have. Their extensive selection offers a wide range of all-season and sport performance tires at a very reasonable price. Despite their modest price point, buyers are always amazed by their performance. It may surprise you to learn that the company that owns this brand traces its roots back over 400 years to a former Buddhist monk in Kyoto, Japan.
Masatomo Sumitomo established a bookshop in 1615, which later evolved into a smelting and copper refining operation with the support of Sumitomo's brother-in-law. The metalwork helped to establish the company's brand and brought in a lot of money. New technology diversified the company's interests in later centuries, and several enterprises emerged out of the original Kyoto-based Corporation. Despite the fact that they are not formally part of the Sumitomo Group, numerous enterprises today use the Sumitomo name for brand recognition.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries, a subsidiary of the Sumitomo Group, produces Sumitomo tires. The Mazda Motor Corporation and the NEC Corporation are among the group's major players. Rubber Industries was founded in 1909 and swiftly grew in size, eventually acquiring the Japanese subsidiary of Dunlop Rubber in 1963, along with significant vehicle holdings.
Sumitomo Rubber recently purchased Apollo Tires, which owned the Dunlop tire brand in South Africa, in 2013. This has a significant impact on the company's global footprint. The company has formed a close association with Rubber Company and Goodyear Tire since pushing their global development through the Dunlop brand, and the two partners divided ownership of the Dunlop name in 2015.
Sumitomo has been a leader in performance, all-seasons, winter, and specialty tires after establishing an international network of tire brands and rubber production. Falken tires, SRI Sports Limited, and the best-selling HTR Enhance and HTR Z ranges are among them. Sumitomo offers tires for both passenger and commercial vehicles, with several subcategories and products in each group.
Despite being one of the world's largest tire manufacturers, Sumitomo does not have the same brand recognition as more well-known competitors like Bridgestone, Goodyear, and Michelin. It focuses less on marketing and more on supplying high-quality mid-range tires to consumers all around the world using this technique.
The company distributes Sumitomo-labeled products under its own brand name, with a commitment to excellence. Sumitomo distinguishes itself by producing large amounts of low-cost, dependable rubber tires. Sumitomo is a major player in the tire industry, producing its own line as well as supplying tires for a variety of other well-known brands all over the world.
Sumitomo Tire Review - Industry Ratings
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed an evaluation methodology for Sumitomo tires (NHTSA). This system is known as Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG), and it grades tires based on temperature resistance, traction, and tread wear with the exception of specialist tires.
The UTQG grading system is explained as follows:
Temperature: Grades A, B, or C assess the tire's heat resistance. Tires must be able to withstand different temperature ranges according to their use. Performance tires, for example, travel at substantially faster speeds than all-season tires and have higher temperature ratings as a result.
Traction: This rating is based on how well your tires "grip" a wet road. A scale of AA, A, B, and C is used to grade traction. Ratings are usually given to good all-around passenger tires.
Tread wear: This grade determines how long your tires will last. Tire tread wear is calculated by comparing them to a control tire with a rating of 100. A tire with a 500 treadwear rating has lasted five times as long as the control. According to data from Consumer Reports, most passenger tires have a tread wear rating of 300 to 500. It's worth noting that the NHTSA isn't in charge of UTQG testing. Tire testing and reporting are the responsibility of manufacturers and independent companies contracted by brands.
Why Should You Choose Sumitomo Tires?
There are numerous reasons to pick Sumitomo Tires. Here's a breakdown of what makes these tires so appealing to all drivers, regardless of whether they drive a fast, compact coupe or a steady minivan.
Range of Products
Sumitomo has a wide selection of tires to choose from. Their selection takes into account a variety of driving factors. If you want to speed about town in the summer with your convertible roof down, the HTR Z5 could be the car for you. You might fall in love with the Encounter HT type if you require a durable wheel to fit onto your pickup for extended stretches of highway all year. Sumitomo has taken the time to build the perfect tire to get you from point A to point B without any hassle, no matter your driving needs.
You might believe that a cost-effective tire must come with compromised quality. However, with Sumitomo Tires, this is not the case. All of the company's tires have a rather narrow pricing range, which is great news for individuals on a tight budget. The all-seasons passenger tire is the most cost-effective option, costing between $75 and $90.
The high performance, racing, and sports performance sets, which cost around $150, are the most expensive. Everything in the middle is usually around $100. What's the best news? Regardless of the set you choose, all of Sumitomo's models come with great user evaluations, ensuring that you'll get your money's worth.
As previously stated, this brand is well-known on a global scale. Sumitomo is one of the world's largest tire makers, despite it being not as good as Michelin or Goodyear. This indicates that not only are the company's products worthy of international success, but it also has the financial resources to develop new rubber technology. Sumitomo Rubber Industries has annual revenue of about $46 billion, allowing them to conduct considerable research, design technology, and testing on each of its products to ensure the highest quality standards.
Sumitomo produces the majority of its products in East Asia. This means the corporation takes use of low labor costs to produce the same level of quality as high-caliber tires made elsewhere while keeping production costs low. This explains why these tires have such an unusual combination of cost and quality.
3D Siping: Three-dimensional wave patterns have been laser-engraved into each of these tires. This uniquely developed tread pattern improves braking ability and traction by up to 25%, especially on wet roads.
Specialized Tread: Sumitomo's specialized tread increases comfort while simultaneously increasing grip. The grooves in the tires are oriented in such a way that irregular wear is minimized as you drive. When driving on old tires, this erratic wear is what generates unpleasant vibrations. Even if your tires deteriorate a little, Sumitomo gear can provide excellent comfort.
Nylon Cap Ply: Sumitomo goes the additional mile to avoid punctures and damage with their nylon cap ply combined with twin steel belt reinforcements to maximize tire longevity. The nylon cap between the steel bands and the rubber improves the tire's resistance to sharp, puncture-causing road hazards while also increasing the wheel's flexibility. In extremely cold temperatures, this improves flexibility, braking, and handling.
Types of Sumitomo Tires
Sumitomo Passenger Tires
Sumitomo currently offers seven types of passenger vehicle tires with a standard ride height. The Japanese tire maker's lineup includes tires for everything from modest compact automobiles to rapid sports cars. Sumitomo's passenger tire range includes sports cars, light trucks, SUVs, crossovers, sedans, and compact cars, among other vehicles.
The Sumitomo Tour Plus is the first tire in the lineup, and it's an all-season tire with a long tread life and a comfortable ride. It also costs a lot less than the premium competitors, making it an appealing option for budget-conscious consumers. Tour Plus's strongest feature is its durability. T-rated models come with a 90,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is quite exceptional for the price.
Next in line is the Sumitomo Touring LS all-season, which has a higher price range, delivers substantially better handling and performance in both dry and wet weather. It does, however, come with a tread wear warranty of 65,000 miles (T-rated). That's not terrible, especially given the inexpensive cost, but it's still less than the Tour Plus.
Sumitomo offers the HTR Enhance WX2 for even superior handling and high-speed performance. This tire not only has a 55,000-mile treadwear warranty, but it's also a W-rated tire, which means it's made for speedier vehicles. This tire is designed for mid-size sedans with V6 engines.
The Sumitomo HTR Enhance LX2 tire, on the other hand, is a similar tire in terms of handling, although it comes in lower speed ratings. As a result, the T-rated model gets a far longer tread wear warranty of 90,000 miles, whereas the W-rated versions only get 55,000 miles.
The HTR A/S PO2 and HTR A/S PO3 are ideal choices for those who want even higher cornering grip and precise handling. Despite the sticky rubber formula that aids grip in dry and rainy conditions, these tires are extremely durable.
Both H & V-rated sizes come with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is exceptional for the category and pricing. The HTR A/S PO3 is the newer and improved model of the two; however, it is also significantly more expensive. However, both are extremely valuable.
The Sumitomo HTR Z5, the brand's high-performance summer tire, lies at the top of the lineup. This particular tire, like others, lacks a tread wear warranty, which is not really surprising. It does, however, offer a strong grip. It won't quite match the likes of Michelin and Bridgestone in terms of overall performance, but it's still a bargain. It's a good alternative if you're looking for a low-cost autocross or track-day tire.
Tires for SUVs, Crossovers, and Light Trucks
Sumitomo also has a diverse portfolio of crossovers, SUVs, and light trucks. It all starts with the Touring CX, a small and compact all-season touring tire for crossovers. It has a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty and performs well in most weather situations.
The Tour Plus LX all-season touring tire, which is designed for a pleasant ride and long tread life, is farther down the line. It has a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is exceptional for the price and ensures safe and dependable traction in most conditions.
Meanwhile, the HTR Enhance CX2 is an all-season touring tire with a focus on high-speed stability and longevity. It has a tread wear warranty of 65,000 miles, which is better than most competitors in this price bracket.
Sumitomo offers the HTR Sport H/P to owners of high-performance crossovers and SUVs. It's a high-performance all-season tire that offers excellent cornering grip in both dry and rainy weather. However, unlike most of its competitors, Sumitomo does not provide a tread wear warranty on this tire.
Truck owners can choose between the Encounter HT and Encounter AT. Even while towing a trailer, the former is an all-season highway tire with excellent stability at higher speeds. It also has a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is fantastic for the price.
On the other hand, the Encounter AT offers a more aggressive off-road tread design while retaining the strong 60,000-mile treadwear warranty. It's also extremely steady on the road, which is quite impressive given the price.
Sumitomo currently only has one winter tire, the Ice Edge. It's a studded winter tire that performs admirably on snow and ice, especially once the studs are installed. It's not as long-lasting as the premium competition, but it is still a fantastic deal based on its price.
Sumitomo Commercial Tires
The Japanese tire maker offers a wide variety of commercial tires for mixed service trucks, RVs and buses, urban trucks, regional trucks, and Line Hauls. Sumitomo has a wider range of products than other inexpensive manufacturers. Furthermore, its tires are of outstanding quality, with long warranties and good overall performance. So, if you are on a budget, these tires could be a great choice.
What Makes Sumitomo Unique?
Ever since the company was founded, Sumitomo has preserved a company-wide cultural expectation of great excellence. Sumitomo has long been able to take advantage of low production costs as a Japanese corporation, allowing the company to grow as a value leader.
Sumitomo was able to continue producing the same tires at a reduced price in the 1960s when the reliability of American tires began to decrease due to increased labor expenses. Sumitomo was able to expand quickly due to the industry imbalance, particularly in more developed regions such as Europe and America.
Sumitomo has rigorous quality control constraints in place due to its over 100 years of manufacturing history, allowing the business to deliver reliable, high-quality products even though it manufactures predominantly in Asia.
In addition, Sumitomo is mostly known for supplying aftermarket tires to consumers; the business only supplies a few kinds to manufacturers for installation on new vehicles. Its tire lineup appeals to regular drivers who are more product and price-conscious. These customers aren't searching for the highest luxury performance or the lowest mass-produced price; instead, they want the most value for their money.
Instead of manufacturing for large automobile conglomerates, Sumitomo develops the greatest possible choice for consumers to service the consumer market. Their tires are inexpensive, but they have consumer-friendly features such as quick installation and factory guarantees, which are important to individual purchasers.
The unique car-to-tire compatibility that automakers supply on new automobiles is lost in this process. When you buy a factory-fit tire, you're getting a product that's been specifically designed to work well with that vehicle. You lose some of that specificity when you use aftermarket tires.
The Sumitomo Method
Sumitomo's origins can be traced back to the early 1600s when a Japanese entrepreneur named Masatomo Sumitomo formed the company's first incarnation. The company's success was built on a set of "Founder's Precepts," which are still in use today as part of the company's corporate governance.
Despite the fact that the principles were originally phrased differently, they have now been converted to three concepts: innovation, strong management, and integrity. The concept of business ethics is built on the idea that the corporation should strive to create great products at all times.
Strong management relates to how the management chain should be connected, as well as the fact that a defined hierarchy is required to build a successful business culture. The Japanese "igeta" sign, which is based on a water well, is used to represent innovation. This well represents the fact that a company's nourishment comes from its ideas. The Sumitomo notion that innovation is what genuinely creates growth is derived from the igeta symbol.
Sumitomo Tire Review - Price Range
Sumitomo's price range is unusually narrow, with most tires costing under $100. High-performance variants, such as the HTR Z series, can cost up to $150 per tire, which is rather inexpensive for a racing tire. The most affordable models for sale are all-season passenger vehicles, which start at $75 and vary in price depending on size.
Sumitomo Design Highlights
Sumitomo acknowledges the necessity for comfort in a tire that is truly enjoyable to drive. When a tire deteriorates over time, certain sections of the tread may wear down unevenly. This reduces the tire's performance and causes unpleasant vibrations to be transferred from the road.
To ensure that tires wear uniformly, Sumitomo adjusts the depths of the grooves in the tread pattern. Thus, the tire will remain circular over time, preventing unpredictable wear. By removing the unique vibrations and noises, the ride can remain comfortable and noise-free even when the tire is nearing the end of its life.
Ply Nylon Cap
To avoid punctures on a tire, manufacturers employ various tactics, the most frequent of which is the installation of a steel belt for resistance to foreign objects. Sumitomo goes one step further and adds a nylon cap between the steel belt and the rubber. This extra layer offers two functions.
The nylon cap, for starters, provides supplementary puncture protection against nails, screws, and other road hazards. Flat-causing debris finds it more difficult to penetrate this extra layer of substance. Second, the nylon layer makes the tire's outer layer more pliable, which contributes to better braking, traction, and handling.
Sipes of 3D Waves
When a tire is rolling along the road, it continually adapts and moves as it comes into contact with minor road imperfections. This wriggling might cause slippage and poor braking when driving in the rain. Tire producers use tire sipes, which are microscopic grooves in the rubber that help the tire stick to the road in wet or snowy conditions.
Sumitomo pushes this technology even further by laser-engraving the rubber's surface. This siping can reduce stopping distances by 22% in inclement weather and boost rolling traction by 28%. This is an example of a technology that Sumitomo has borrowed from traditional tire manufacturers and improved upon to create a superior product.
Sumitomo's Overall Evaluation
Sumitomo has a long history of providing high-quality tires all around the world, with over a century of experience. Sumitomo has received numerous honors for its ingenuity. For example, the 4D Nano Design Technology it uses in its products was developed through research into the molecular structure of tires.
This technology has helped to cut carbon emissions while also improving fuel efficiency and overall grip. Sumitomo tires check the majority of the boxes, with good dry traction and stability, ride comfort, and steering responsiveness across the board.
When it comes to Sumitomo tires, there aren't many flaws. The primary gripe with the range is the performance of the tires in the snow. For example, when the tires wear out on certain models, there may be concerns about road noise. Plus, the company could also work on its overall tread life on certain models, but these are minor flaws that shouldn't deter you from the incredible value the brand provides.
Sumitomo tires' success has been built on a foundation of technology and innovation. This procedure produces quality as a by-product. Although Sumitomo tires are reasonably priced, they do not compromise on quality.
To enhance the internal structure of their tires, the business uses polyamide. The tires are made up of a polyester string body and solid sidewalls, resulting in a tough tire, resistant to wear and tear and bruising.
Efficiency of Fuel
Sumitomo consistently ranks high in terms of fuel efficiency across their product line. The manufacturer focuses on lowering rolling resistance, which, along with the tire's long-lasting tread composition, helps to boost overall mileage and the tire's value per mile.
Sumitomo tires are known for their durability. This is the result of decades of work by seasoned scientists and automotive specialists. Their extensive range of tires is built to withstand everyday tears and perform at a high level. The business has prioritized the development of a tire that can withstand harsh conditions and road friction.
Sumitomo tires, on the whole, are well-handling tires, thanks to their technologically advanced approach to tire design and production. Sumitomo offers a wide choice of tires that are designed specifically for the job at hand. Integrated tread design, siping, biting edges, and unique 5 rib pattern all work together to improve overall tire performance in various circumstances.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding