LOUISVILLE -- Continental says it's ready to grasp more of the world’s tire market for both commercial trucks as well as passenger vehicles.

During a Wednesday press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show, company officials said they plan to increase total world-wide output by 20 million tires annually and will build a new tire plant each year for the next nine years.

On the truck tire side, it rolled out what it calls a new hybrid dive tire combing mileage, fuel efficiency and traction, called the Conti Hybrid HD3.

Trucking fleets today require not only advanced technology, but the ability to use the same tire whether they are operating in line-haul or regional applications, said brand and communications manager Alex Chmiel.

“We listened when our customers told us they needed fuel efficiency when they are on the highway, and the durability and extended mileage when they’re on regional roads. But it’s impossible to think that they can constantly change their tires, even when routes may switch from short to long hauls on a weekly or even daily basis,” he said. “Our new Conti Hybrid HD3 addresses the needs of this evolving segment in order to provide the best of both worlds from one all-new truck tire.”

Advances in Continental engineering have combined to create a tire that it claims offers exceptional mileage. The Conti Hybrid HD3 is now Continental’s widest dual drive tire, at 248 mm, with 27/32nds tread depth in a new regenerating pattern that is cut in three dimensions, said director of truck tire technologies Libor Heger.  The combination of these characteristics and a large tread volume allows for long tread life, as well as a larger footprint that provides excellent traction when operated on highways.

The traction requirements for regional traffic, which often include changing weather conditions and curved roads, have also been addressed via the Conti Hybrid HD3’s tread geometry to provide grip throughout the life of the product, Heger said.

“The three-dimensional lateral sipes and a directional tread pattern provide more gripping edges on the road surface than a traditional drive tire. These sipes also support the tread blocks against forces from the drivetrain, retarder and wheel brake system to achieve the best possible traction and braking force transfer. An open shoulder also gives ideal grip and directional control for this application,” he said.

When operated in long haul conditions, the new Conti Hybrid HD3 purports to reduce fuel consumption versus Continental’s traditional regional and mileage drive tires, Heger said. With advanced tread cap compounding, a self-stabilizing rib-block pattern, and minimized tread deformation from a stiff shoulder, drivers can expect more than 10 percent improvement in rolling resistance against Continental’s HDR2 and HDL2 DL.

Continental’s advanced ContiGOODSCasing features are also included it says for maximum retreadability, including a premium belt package, flatter contour and a more supportive bead package.

The Conti Hybrid HD3 will be available from Continental dealers in April 2013, in sizes 295/75R22.5, 11R22.5 and 11R24.5. The tire will be available as a ContiTread retread product in late 2013. Both the new tire and ContiTread product will be submitted to the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership technology program for verification.

Continental also announced that following a year of real-world testing with commercial truck fleets across the U.S., it  is kicking off sales of its ContiPressureCheck system at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show.

The system, first demonstrated at the 2012 Mid-America event, has undergone extensive testing at fleets throughout the U.S., said Clif Armstrong, director of marketing for truck tires, the Americas. “Today, our distribution channels for this system are fully in place and we are ready to open sales of this system to our customers nationwide. Whether you are an owner-operator, a small fleet or a large trucking operation, ContiPressureCheck is ready to start adding value to your operation and safeguarding your tire investment,” Armstrong said.

The ContiPressureCheck system, jointly developed by the Commercial Vehicle Tire, Body and Security and Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket business units, utilizes sensors mounted inside the tires to provide accurate temperature and pressure readings. Alerts and warnings are displayed inside the cab, and the system can be used for tractors, trailers or in combination.