Company News

Pro-Align a ‘five-star’ Hunter Platinum Partner

Pro-Align a ‘five-star’ Hunter Platinum Partner

Wheel servicing specialist Pro-Align has been awarded a five-star rating by leading garage equipment manufacturer Hunter Engineering for the first time. Pro-Align said this reflected the significant progression and development of the Hunter brand in the UK. The company was also presented with Hunter’s “Platinum Partner” award for the ninth consecutive year, indicating the Towcester-based company as one of Hunter’s most successful and important global distributors.

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UK News

UK automotive sector turns over a record £69.5 billion

New figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirm the growing strength and vitality of the UK automotive industry and its ascendancy as a major global player. SMMT’s 16th annual Sustainability Report confirms the sector is breaking new records, with turnover hitting an all-time high of £69.5 billion in 2014. Manufacturing output, vehicle sales, jobs and export values also grew, while the environmental impact from vehicle production has been reduced dramatically.

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International News

Electricity from tyres could keep electric vehicles running 10% longer

Electricity from tyres could keep electric vehicles running 10% longer

What’s a nanogenerator? It is, we are told, a device or technology that converts mechanical or thermal energy into electricity. The technology has already found its way into automotive and tyre applications, and now the University of Wisconsin-Madison reports that a group of its engineers have, together with a “collaborator from China”, developed a nanogenerator that could increase an electric vehicle’s mileage by around ten per cent.

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Motorsport

Falken, James Deane bring smoke to Goodwood Festival of Speed

Falken, James Deane bring smoke to Goodwood Festival of Speed

Falken was able to put the spotlight on its drifting activities at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, in conjunction with European drift champion and Falken Motorsports professional drifter James Deane. Deane was one of the few to be invited to drift the prestigious hillclimb in front of over 300,000 fans in attendance, and hundreds of thousands more online.

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Retreading News

Vacu-Lug rolls out new Westlake Tyre range

Vacu-Lug rolls out new Westlake Tyre range

Following its launch at the IAA Show in Hannover in October 2014, Vacu-Lug, the sole UK distributor for all Westlake truck and bus radial tyres, has launched the range in the UK. According to the company, the Westlake range offers a choice of 17.5”, 19.5” and 22.5” rim diameters and consists of four applications: Long Haul, Regional, Mixed Service and Max Load.

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Product News

Hankook introduces SmartControl DW07 drive axle tyre

Hankook introduces SmartControl DW07 drive axle tyre

A new “snow specialist” has been added to the Hankook truck tyre portfolio. The SmartControl DW07 drive axle winter tyre has been released in three key sizes – 315/80 R22.5, 315/70 R22.5 and 295/80 R22.5 – and Hankook Tire is preparing to expand the range with additional sizes.

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Career Tracks

Michael Küster to take on expanded PR role at Michelin

Michael Küster to take on expanded PR role at Michelin

Michelin communications head, Michael Küster will take on additional responsibility for commercial vehicle tyres and the Travel Publishing Group public relations on 1 July. Sexton was previously head of product and motorsport communications with responsibility for Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region). Nina Grigoleit, who previously supervised these areas, will take on other duties within the company.

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Comment

Consolidation now

A couple of months ago we discussed the “restructuring” of relatively large and modern Chinese manufacturer Deruibao Tire. Back then, Qingdao Doublestar was top of the list of firms connected with an acquisition/cooperation/merger rescue orchestrated by the local government. A month later government-owned ChemChina announced that it was buying Pirelli. This latter point has been covered in some depth in the pages of Tyres & Accessories, especially in our April edition. The Pirelli/ChemChina story will no-doubt garner more attention as the very complex outworkings of the deal are walked out, but what remains of interest is the way in which both the local Chinese market and the global industry are engaged in a period of both parallel and inter-connected consolidation.

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