Details of a difficult 2014 have emerged in Titan International’s full-year financial report, which was published earlier today. The tyre maker’s CEO and chairman, Maurice Taylor, took the eye-watering US$80.4 million loss attributable to Titan on the chin, referring to 2014 as “a year of very real challenges for businesses in the agriculture, construction and mining sectors.” He also reported that Titan International shed at least 1,900 people from the payroll during the year due to lower production output, with the company’s global employee count sinking below 6,500. Other issues that arose during the 12 month period included currency impacts, impairment charges of approximately $76.5 million and a union slowdown.
CAM has scheduled the second UniSerV User Group (UUG) meeting for April, coinciding with The CV Show at the Birmingham NEC. Chaired by Anne Sherwood, group business support manager of Tructyre Fleet Management, CAM says UUG² will continue to discuss the benefits of e-jobsheet, CAM’s open-access mobile data platform for digital tablet technology in the truck, bus and van service arena.
German alloy wheel manufacturer Uniwheels has announced plans to expand its production operation in Poland by a further 2 million or so wheels. The original equipment supplier and manufacturer of the ATS, Rial, Alutec and Anzio aftermarket alloy rim brands produced over six million wheels at its two plants in Stalowa Wola last year; in addition to the aforementioned capacity boost, the erection of a third facility there will increase the site’s workforce with a further 250 jobs.
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile has today revealed the eight manufacturers who will enter the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship in season two – further increasing the series' credentials as a test bed for the development of electric vehicle technology. For the inaugural 2014/2015 season, the 10 Formula E teams all compete using identical single-seaters – the Spark-Renault SRT_01E – utilising a powertrain by McLaren Electronic Systems. From the 2015/2016 season, the series will become an open championship allowing manufacturers to pursue their own in-house innovations, beginning with the development of bespoke powertrains. Michelin is currently the tyre supplier to the series, alongside global supply partner Protyre Motorsport, as well as a founding partner. Having started in Beijing last year, the first season ends in Central London, with a circuit expected to be formed within Battersea Park to host the final two rounds.
The super wide segment, which refers to tyres with a tread width exceeding 325mm, has been grown exponentially all over the world in recent years. These tyres have been used in Europe as trailer tyres for many years, however more recently they have also gained favour in North America and their applications have progressively extended to cover drive and front axle fitments.
Mitas has launched a “slick” agricultural tyre designed for use in the niche sport of tractor-pulling. The Powerpull 30.5L-32 is manufactured without a tread pattern, allowing the competitor to create the winning tread design. Its bias-ply construction and manufacture is based on a process similar to that of the Mitas’ high-horsepower tractor tyres, which the Czech company says will guarantee endurance and durability.
Shingo Sakashita, 46, has been appointed finance director Falken Tyre Europe, the European affiliate of Japanese tyre manufacturer Sumitomo Rubber Industries. Sakashita joins the management team in Offenbach am Main (Germany), assuming the position of finance director, alongside Isamu Ishida, Koji Fukuhara and Hidekazu Nishiguchi.
Motor Wheel Service Distribution (MWSD) has welcomed the Department for Transport's report into wheel safety and the government's classification of CV wheels as 'safety critical'. However the company remains sceptical of the report’s findings and industry awareness of the issue. MWSD has long campaigned for legislation requiring operators to carry out more stringent checks on commercial vehicle wheels to be introduced.