Yokohama Rubber demonstrated leadership in corporate environmental responsibility by developing fuel-efficient tires (from mid-1990s)
In 1996, Yokohama Rubber launched a project to increase the value-added of its tires and enhance the positive YOKOHAMA brand image achieved by ADVAN. This project, which brought together talented staff from the design, sales, advertising and other departments, was named the “DNA Project” because its goal was to develop tires that would become the new core (DNA) of Yokohama Rubber.
The DNA Project’s guiding phrase for tire development was “Environmental performance ahead of the times.” The top priority was to develop tires that would improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. The result was the DNA series, Japan’s first fuel-efficient tires, which improved fuel efficiency by reducing rolling resistance without sacrificing grip performance, thus maintaining high standards for these two conflicting conditions.
Launch of DNA series, Japan's first fuel-efficient tires (1998)
Yokohama Rubber was the first Japanese tire maker to propose putting tires on the market that "improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by reducing tire rolling resistance." That proposal was realized in 1998, when Yokohama Rubber launched sales of the ES-01 and ES-02, the first offerings from the new fuel-efficient DNA series for luxury passenger car tires. The tires marked the birth of a new Yokohama Rubber DNA (core), adding a new environmental assessment (A) to YOKOHAMA tires’ existing driving operation and safety qualities (D) and their delivery of comfortable rides emanating from their noise reduction capabilities (N).
The press conference announcing the launch of the DNA ES-01 and ES-02 included a demonstration of a car equipped with conventional tires and one with DNA tires descending a steep slope under the same conditions. The car with the DNA tires traveled a longer distance and showed a nearly 10% reduction in rolling resistance. The DNA concept and supporting technologies captured the attention of the media, which also highly evaluated Yokohama Rubber’s corporate stance on tackling the environmental impact of its tire products.
Continually evolving DNA Series (from 1999)
In 1999, Yokohama Rubber launched the next addition to the DNA series. The DNA GP, designed for use on sports cars, added environmental performance to the maneuverability of the GRAND PRIX series, which also had a strong reputation for superior handling stability. In addition to fuel efficiency, the DNA GP featured enhanced braking and control performance and greatly reduced pattern noise, providing a comfortable ride even when used on minivans and station wagons.
Yokohama Rubber followed up with the third addition to the DNA series in 2000, introducing the DNA dB for luxury cars. The new tire inherited the tire pattern of its predecessor, the ASPEC dB, which was highly rated for its quiet ride, but featured a new compound that helped reduce rolling resistance by about 10% when compared to the ASPEC dB. The DNA dB also delivered a quieter ride by reducing pattern and road noise and achieved higher levels of performance in such fundamental areas as wet performance and abrasion resistance.