The Authority for Consumers and Markets (Autoriteit Consument & Markt) in the Netherlands has consented to the Inter-Sprint Group’s proposed acquisition of the Van den Ban Group. B.L.K. Vroomen, team manager for the authority’s Directorate of Competition, reports the ACM ruled on 17 September that “sufficient competition” will exist in the market following this transaction.
A dealership describing itself as “London’s most beautiful Volkswagen garage”, Monaco VW has announced the offer of a comprehensive Winter Vehicle Check. From 15 September, the Kensington garage will offer the service at £29.99. The check offers a technical inspection of tyres, battery, brakes, lights and fluid levels, giving a detailed report to customers on the status of their vehicle ahead of the winter period. Winter checks, both complementary and charged, are an increasingly popular product offered by garages seeking ways to increase the quality of their service, the engagement of motorists, and a way to generate increased revenue streams. Winter checks in particular could help to support growth in seasonal tyre products, which has been palpable, if also rather timid.
US trade organisation SEMA has been awarded part of a $2.2m federal grant to expand exports of automotive aftermarket products. The organisation, which represents the $33B automotive specialty equipment market, will seek growth in Russia, the United Arab Emirates and China, among others, giving its 6,800-plus members increased opportunity in foreign markets. The grant was awarded under the Market Development Cooperator programme within the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA). The body will assist SEMA with a new yearly fact-finding and sales mission to Russia; seeking regulations to allow US products equal market access by working with government officials; and organizing overseas vehicle measuring sessions in key emerging markets.
Both the hard ‘H4’ and softer ‘S4’ versions of the Michelin LTX Force gravel tyre have now enjoyed a taste of WRC action. The tyre maker reports that all WRC teams ran the Michelin LTX Force during the 2014 Rally Australia on the weekend, fielding at various times the S4 – which also hit the gravel during 2014 Rally Finland – and, for the first time, the H4. The Australian round was won by Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in their Volkswagen Polo R WRC; the pair shared the podium with team mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila along with Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene in a 1-2-3 Volkswagen clean sweep.
Continental AG has announced that its first third generation truck tyres will be available as retreaded tyres from October. Specifically it will be the first hot retreaded ContiRe EcoPlus HT3 from the ContiLifeCycle plant in Hanover.
First-time registered passenger cars and vans up to 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight are required to be equipped with tyre pressure monitoring systems from November 2014 onwards. In most cases, vehicles will be fitted with direct TPMS in which sensors monitor both the tyre pressure and its temperature. For the diagnosis of these direct systems, Bosch has developed the TPA 200 mobile tester, a unit that can be used when working directly on a vehicle or in a tyre warehouse.
Giti Tire is currently looking for a new general manager for the DACH market – Germany, Austria and Switzerland – following the departure of Rainer Harter. The company’s managing director for Europe, Richard Lyons, told Tyres & Accessories that Harter recently “left of his own accord in order to pursue new opportunities.” Harter joined Giti Tire in summer 2013 and held the position of managing director at Giti Tire Deutschland GmbH. Lyons commented that the former Michelin manager “had done a very good job.”
The Government has announced plans to raise the speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads to 50 mph and the move has generated diametrically opposed views. On the pro side, Transport minister Claire Perry says that the move is part of a package of measures to cut congestion, reduce dangerous overtaking and help get the country moving. Brake, the road safety charity, has expressed serious concerns about the proposed limit increase and the announcement comes as a survey by Brake and Digby Brown solicitors reveals the extent of risky driving on country roads.