Behind the scenes of product development: The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 was created by over one hundred professionals In January 2017, Nokian Tyres launched its flagship products: the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 for passenger cars and the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 SUV for sport utility vehicles. The new tire’s journey from design to production varied and lasted more than four years.Building a better tire after the multiple test-winning Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 was a real challenge. However, the sights were set high from the beginning: the aim was to build a safe tire with stable handling and extreme grip on ice. The new tire also had to consume less fuel and meet the requirements of the new Russian and Nordic stud legislation. Our development efforts paid off: the new tires offer first-class braking grip on ice and uncompromisingly stable and balanced handling in any weather. Unique grip from double studs The most revolutionary idea in the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 tires is related to functional studding. “As the first tire manufacturer in the world, we have developed two different studs: one for the centre of the tread and another for its edges. Developing the correct studs was a long process, during which the stud development department tested dozens of different variations,” says Development Manager Mikko Liukkula. The end result was the patented double stud technology in the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 tires: the centre region’s studs that provide firm longitudinal grip during braking and acceleration, and the edge region studs that offer first-class lateral grip on icy and snowy roads alike. The two top-quality studs penetrate deep into the ice, allowing for safe driving even on the worst days of winter while cornering and overtaking. In addition to the two different stud models, the new tires have the Eco Stud cushion. The new stud concept reduces road wear and ensures a comfortable noise level. 28 different tread patterns were tested A total of 28 different tread patterns were tested in order to optimize final performance of Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9. The end result was an even safer pattern with snow grip and winter handling above the level of its predecessors. The materials development department designed a new type of eco-friendly winter compound that offers up to 6% better braking grip on wet asphalt according to our tests. The new tires also have the lowest rolling noise and fuel consumption of the studded tires in their product family. “Starting the production was also a larger task than before, since the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 and Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 SUV have the largest size selection for a single product family in our company’s history: over 100 products“ explains Liukkula. "Starting the production was also a larger task than before, since the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 and Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 SUV have the largest size selection for a single product family in our company’s history: over 100 products." One of the most interesting facts in product development is that, even after all the planning, the performance of a tire cannot be calculated – it can only be tested in practice. Our test drivers put the new models through their paces at our White Hell Testing Center during several winters, and the total number of tests exceeded 2,800. A joint effort from more than one hundred product developers Production was able to quickly manufacture prototype tires for testing, for which thanks are due to the dedicated professionals at our factories. Our production has been able to maintain the high quality of technically demanding products, which allows us to offer the best winter tires on the market and extreme winter safety for the motorists this winter. “Over one hundred tire professionals took part in the development of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9. Indeed, interaction is the most important skill during demanding development. Succeeding at tire development is very rewarding, and after the design of a new winter tire, there is always a period where you feel that this is the best tire that you can make“ Liukkula states. However, continuous development is typical of the tire industry and we will continue to work closely. "Succeeding at tire development is very rewarding, and after the design of a new winter tire, there is always a period where you feel that this is the best tire that you can make." Together, we have designed and manufactured a unique studded tire that makes driving more comfortable and safer in the demanding Northern conditions.