We use the web as much as the next guy, but getting the entire, unfiltered story means going directly to the source, not just visiting some forum or reading a blog—often paid for by a company hawking its goods.

News about new products for the automotive industry is easy to get, but knowing what's hype and what's not is another thing altogether. We created The Buzz as a way to cut through all the fluff and get down to the details we can all understand—whether it's about new products, future technologies, or even insider gossip. As long as we can quote the source, we'll print it! We'll leave the speculation to the blogs.

The Greening Of Tires By Tire Rack
You might be surprised to hear that Tire Rack, one of the leading distributors of wheels and tires, also tests the products it sells. It's not every day that a distributor actually tests what it offers, but Tire Rack does.

We spoke with Tire Rack's vice president, Matt Edmonds, about the company's testing program and other aspects of its business strategy that benefit the consumer, and here's what he had to say:

"To learn more about the Tire Rack customer, we rely a lot on our online surveys," Edmonds said. "It helps us get a pretty good feel for who is buying the tires and wheels. We know, for instance, that a lot of buyers are women and not just enthusiasts—although enthusiasts are a big part of the market.

"I think what we're going to see in the tire industry is the greening of the tire. Manufacturers are starting to bring in new technologies that can better contribute to the economy of the vehicle, and rolling resistance is one of the issues. That alone is going to be mandated by the different agencies to give consumers a way to look at a tire and compare it to another for efficiency standards," Edmonds said.

"Pirelli, for instance, has taken the approach to make its tires lighter," Edmonds continued, "which contributes to the environmental side of the manufacturing process. By using different compounds and technologies, tire manufacturers are evolving to keep up with environmental standards."

"In regard to tow vehicles, I recommend that people understand load capacities and look for a tire that offers good all-season properties. Air pressure is critical and it's advantageous to always check to see if the pressure in the tire is optimum for the trailer you are towing," Edmonds added.

Tire Rack has just opened its sixth distribution facility, which indirectly benefits the consumer by offering lower shipping costs and speed of delivery.

Tire Rack
www.tirerack.com