Ryder System Inc. is launching an online venture this month for selling its used vehicles - with several interesting twists.

Miami-based Ryder already sells between 19,000 and 25,000 used vehicles annually, ranging from pickup trucks to Class 8 tractors, through a company-owned network of 44 retail sites, as well as other electronic commerce Internet sites such as www.truckcenter.com.

Yet Ryder believes its new Internet site, www.used trucks.ryder.com, will offer several items most online used truck ventures don't, including complete vehicle maintenance histories and the calculation of monthly payment schedules.

"What we want to create is a virtual dealership, not only putting prices online, but also complete maintenance records, financing options, insurance, warranty, and credit applications," says Spike Vera, Ryder's manager of e-commerce. "We will show the buyer not only the vehicle's price, but the payment schedule based on current interest rates."

Vera says that instead of following online models established by truck OEMs and dealers to sell used trucks, Ryder tried to emulate national used automobile chains such as Carmax and AutoNation. "When somebody comes to our site, we want them to have the same consumer retail experience they have at places like Carmax," he said.

Most of Ryder's used vehicle customers are small- to medium-sized buyers, which typically purchase one vehicle at a time. The site will also be posted in both Spanish and English from day one, with a French-language version for its French-Canadian customers due to go online soon.

Goodyear is introducing a new tire, the G647 RSS (regional service steer) tire, which is designed to handle the start-and-stop driving, backing, and tight turns required of package-delivery vehicles in city driving conditions.

The G647 RSS comes with a 16.5/32-in. tread. A new tread compound, deeper non-skid tread, and a computer-optimized tread pattern promote improved mileage. The tread's circumferential grooves and lateral blading provide improved traction on wet roads, while a scuff rib has been added to the tire casing for better sidewall protection.

The G647 RSS is currently available in only the 225/70R19.5 size, but others may be added based on demand, said Goodyear.