WTC Benefits Keep Growing
Vehicle Dynamics for the Wheel and Tire Industry
The partnership between SEMA and the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is producing a great new resource for the wheel and tire industry. The Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) and CU-ICAR have been collaborating since 2013 on a vehicle dynamics research project studying the effects of plus-sized wheels and tires on the ’13 Ford F-150. Using advanced simulation models, researchers have been able to quantify the effects of various wheel/tire combinations on key areas of consumer priorities: routine and emergency handling, steering feel, ride comfort and various subsets of those categories.
This data will be translated into consumer language and graphics to produce a supplemental sales tool for the wheel and tire retailers who help customers make decisions that are right for them. The ability to compare many different wheel/tire combinations across various categories to meet an individual’s wants and needs will be an invaluable tool for both retailers and manufacturers. This tool will assist in product and brand development as well as marketing and sales.
Research is already underway on a follow-up vehicle to the F-150 to test a completely different range of wheel and tire combinations. Check back here for updates.
SEMA understands that manufacturers prefer to get their hands on a physical vehicle to measure and evaluate before they begin designing and prototyping a new product. Gathering that data can be an expensive and time-consuming prospect, especially if you or your staff are separated from the vehicle you need access to by thousands of miles. WTC is exploring a new resource for its members: shared access to fundamental wheel measurement data on the vehicles that pass through SEMA Garage measuring sessions. Even if you prefer to touch the vehicle before you go into production mode, early access to this data on brand-new vehicles can give you the head start you need to fast track your development schedule and get your products to market sooner.
Each professional has a particular style of measurement-taking, but with collaboration from member companies, a solid baseline dimensional spec sheet has been created to be distributed among the council, potentially saving your business thousands of dollars in travel and staff time.
Q&A With the Select Committee
Tim Dietz of Standards Testing Laboratories and Greg Parker of Wegmann Automotive are WTC select committee members and recently spoke with SEMA Member News about their experiences as volunteer leaders with WTC.
SEMA Member News: What is most exciting to you about WTC?
Tim Dietz: I am impressed and glad to be a part of a council that gets involved in something that truly matters to the tire and wheel industry. As the aftermarket culture changes and grows more performance- and tech-savvy, our council has responded in kind. I have worked with some of the best minds and brightest people in the industry.
Greg Parker: We are currently working with Clemson University on several projects, one of which is to test the effects of wheel and tire plus-sizing. In essence, what effect on the vehicle a larger wheel and tire combination has. Does it affect handling? Steering sensitivity? Through this partnership, we are able to test and report real numbers related to this topic.
SMN: What advice do you have for members who want to get more involved in the council?
TD: The councils are vehicles that can take you far deeper into the world of SEMA than any other way. When you sit on a select committee, you become part of the life force that drives SEMA. It is your ideas, your energy and your efforts that bring to life something greater than yourself. SEMA is steeped in tradition. When you sit on a council, you become part of the rich and longstanding heritage of members who have gone before you to make a difference. It is a wonderful experience that will change your perspectives on life and on business.
GP: I think most industry members get involved for two reasons. One, to give back to the industry that has given so much. Two, to network with other members and build bridges to new opportunities. I believe that the WTC does an excellent job of taking these two reasons to heart and effectively delivers on them.