By the end of next year, TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. intends to have opened three further plants in China. Two of these facilities will be located on the same site in Zhanghjiagang, Jiangsu province; the first, a factory dedicated to braking, will start operations at the end of the second quarter of 2015, while a November 2015 start is planned for the other, an occupant safety systems facility. The third plant is located in Xian and is also an occupant safety systems factory. It should be operational by the third quarter of 2016.
Whippet Coaches has moved its fleet on to a rolling Effitires contract with Michelin Solutions. The outsourced tyre management deal is the first pence-per-kilometre agreement to be implemented by the coach operator.
The research Bridgestone has conducted on the use of guayule-derived natural rubber in tyre production was recognised at the 2015 Edison Award Winners event on 23 April. The tyre maker went home with a 2015 Edison Gold Award for Innovation in Automotive Solutions.
Seven tractor-driving finalists in the European Drivers Challenge have been invited to the Michelin Technical Innovation Centre Test Circuit in Ladoux, France to demonstrate how best practice can affect tractor performance. Each participant will get his own John Deere 6215R AutoPowr tractor, pulling a heavy 20t Joskin two axle trailer. The tractors will be equipped with Michelin MachXBib tyres, with trailers featuring Michelin CargoXBib High Flotation tyres. The participants will be challenged to select their own strategy of tractor settings and tyre inflation pressures.
Executives at Pelmar Engineering Group (Pelmar) have confirmed that a disagreement between the company and Tianjin Saixiang Technology Co. Ltd. (TST) has been resolved. Pelmar’s executive chairman Jacob Peled told Tyres & Accessories that “the conflict between TST and Pelmar has ended in an amicable settlement”. The resolution appears to have occurred after TST met its obligations towards Pelmar. As a result Pelmar cancelled the lawsuit it brought against TST in the Tianjin Court. In addition, it was also agreed that the two companies will resume their business relations and will continue to cooperate as before.
In 2015 the Red Dot Award celebrates its 60th anniversary, and during this ‘diamond jubilee’ year a 38-person jury awarded MAK Wheels’ Milano alloy wheel a Product Design 2015 award. The Italian wheel manufacturer says the award is proof of how much MAK “cares about the design and the quality of its products.”
Bridgestone Europe has appointed Timothy Manuel, currently general manager of channel strategy as director replacement sales in the company’s European Consumer Business Unit. Despite having taking on this new role, Manuel remains responsible for Consumer Business Unit channel strategy and the Motorcycle Business Unit at European level. Moving forward, his key focus is said to be the development of the company’s passenger car sales in Europe, working closely with the six different European regions.
In case you haven’t heard, as much as 65 per cent of Pirelli is in the process of being sold to ChemChina. It’s a complex plan and there’s a long road ahead, but the deal has been done and so takeover wheels are in motion (see page 28 for complete coverage of this part of the story). So what’s next? The deal can’t fail to have an impact at Pirelli, but what about the other top five tyre manufacturers and beyond? We hinted at market consolidation in this column last month, with reference to restructuring proceedings at Shandong Deruibao Tire Co., Ltd and possible contagion in China; and Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera made the market aware of that he was planning to sell his stake within two years in January 2014. But few would have named this particular bidder and this particular timing. Now we are faced with the possibility, even the likelihood that the Pirelli/ChemChina deal is going to precipitate further micro and macro consolidation within the tyre market - even a re-shuffle of the tyre industry's top 10.