“Hakkaa päälle!”

The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta is a pioneer in tire technology and safety

The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta’s 80-year journey for better winter tire technology has included hundreds of innovations and incredible world records. Nokian Tyres is the world’s northernmost winter tire manufacturer, whose winter tires bring safety to challenging winter conditions everywhere.

The world’s first winter tire, the Kelirengas, was invented in Finland in 1934, and the grooved tread helped trucks take on the winter conditions. The revolutionary invention eliminated the need for snow chains for keeping the vehicle on the road. The winter tire proved to be such a great invention that Suomen Gummitehdas, the company known today as Nokian Tyres, also developed the first winter tire for passenger cars in 1936.

The new tire was called the “Lumi-Hakkapeliitta” (Snow Hakkapeliitta), and it paved the way for the future of the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta winter tires. The tire was named after the legendary Finnish cavalrymen, the Hakkapeliittas.

International acclaim at the Monte Carlo

In the 1950s, the roads were ploughed because of the increased traffic volumes, which made the road surfaces smooth and icy. The attempts to improve the grip of winter tires included rubber linings equipped with metal sleeves, tread compounds with ceramic pieces and various metallic skid stoppers attached to the tread.

In 1961, the company finally made a breakthrough by combining the Hakkapeliitta winter tire, the Kometa stud and the studded tire patent owned by rubber technician Veikko Ryhönen. The invention combined the ice grip of the hard metal stud and the snow grip of the tire itself.

The excellent grip of the studded tires attracted world-class interest at the legendary Monte Carlo rallies in the 1950s and 1960s. In particular, the Kometa-Hakkapeliitta studded tire dominated the snowy and icy mountain roads. The innovation quickly gained international fame.

In the 1970s, the company produced a non-studded winter tire alongside the studded Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta. It was a quieter alternative to its big brother. Its grip properties were based on the strong, siped tread pattern and an innovative rubber compound.

The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliittas are tailored for the demanding winter conditions

Uncompromising development efforts have enabled Nokian Tyres to grow internationally and promote the use of winter tires around the world. After the Second World War, the production volume of the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta tires was 20,000 units but, today, we estimate that more than 700 million winter tires help drivers reach their destination safely under winter conditions. The adoption of winter tire legislation in Europe has increased the number of winter tires.

In addition to the Nordic countries, the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta winter tires are being used in the rest of Europe, North America, Russia and wherever drivers face demanding conditions during the winter months.

The best winter tires and a forward-looking approach

The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta product family includes studded and non-studded winter tires for passenger cars, vans and SUVs. The latter is the fastest growing product segment in the tire market. The company has also developed specialised products for trucks, wheel loaders and tractors.

The studded Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta 8 was released in 2013, and its state-of-the-art tire technology combined safety with driving comfort. The new stud technology offered reduced fuel consumption and a softer road contact, which were greeted with open arms. 2013 also put the Hakkapeliitta 8 to the test under extreme conditions when Nokian Tyres’ test driver set the incredible world record for the fastest car on ice at 335.713 km/h.  

Two years later, in 2015, Nokian Tyres released the world’s first winter tire with the best class A fuel efficiency rating according to the EU tire label – the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R2. The size 155/70R19 84Q of the modern non-studded tire is especially designed for BMW’s i3 electric cars. The non-studded tire represents the tire technology of the future, which enables high performance and safe, economic driving in the demanding Nordic winter conditions.

Hakkapeliitta – Hakkaa päälle!

There are several stories about the history of the name Hakkapeliitta. The Finnish cavalrymen who served in the Swedish military in the 17th century were called the Hakkapeliittas. When charging forward, the cavalrymen would shout their legendary battle cry “Hakkaa päälle!” (Cut them down!). Similarly, the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta winter tire has battled the challenging road conditions for more than 80 years.

Important events in the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta winter tires’ journey:

1934 “Kelirengas”, the first winter tire in the world.
1936 The legendary Hakkapeliitta winter tire is born.
1961 The first winter tire designed for studding, the Kometa-Hakkapeliitta.
1986 Dedicated Testing Center in Ivalo, Finnish Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle.
1995 Nokian Tyres Eco Stud System.
2013 New generation of Hakkapeliitta winter tires. The studded Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta 8 and non-studded Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R2.
2013 Fastest on ice. New world record for the fastest car on ice, 335.71 km/h (208.60 mph) set with the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta 8.
2014 The Hakkapeliitta winter tire family grows. The studded Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV and the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta C3 and Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta CR3 van tires.
2014 The world’s first winter tire with pop-out studs. The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta concept tire.
2014 The new Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R2 – The world’s first winter tire for electric cars with a class A rolling resistance rating.
2015 The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R2. The world’s most energy-efficient winter tire. The Tire Technology of the Year 2016 award.
2016 80th anniversary of the Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta. Born, raised and tested in the north.

Further information:

Vice President, Research and Development Juha Pirhonen, Nokian Tyres, tel. +358 10 401 7708, [email protected]

Technical Customer Service Manager Matti Morri, Nokian Tyres, tel. +358 10 401 7621, [email protected]

Read more:

Nokian Tyres’ innovations

The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R2 – State-of-the-art green winter tire technology for electric cars

Photos related to the Tire Technology of the Year 2016 award and Hakkapeliitta R2 product photos:


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