With Continental’s acquisition of Bandvulc, the voice of independent retreading in the UK has been substantially diminished at a moment of intense market pressure and political uncertainty. Issues surrounding the at times unbelievably cheap new commercial vehicle tyres imported from China have been around for many years now, and have certainly squeezed retread output in this period. The Brexit vote has increased doubt that protectionist European market measures for which independent retreading businesses could lobby the EU to provide would be implemented in a more isolated UK market, though in the short-term the reduced value of sterling has presented opportunities for British-manufactured product. While nothing is currently clear, we will leave our readers to consider the chances of UK market protectionist measures against Chinese imports being implemented while the country redefines its trading relationship with global economic superpowers. It’s not hard to see how the security provided by merger with Conti was attractive to Bandvulc.
UK car manufacturing achieved its 12th consecutive month of growth in July, rising 7.6 per cent to 126,566 units compared with the same month in 2015, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Year-to-date production grew 12.3 per cent to 1,023,723 units – the best performance since 2000, and the first time in 12 years volumes have been greater than one million in the first seven months. Demand was up both at home and abroad with a 14.1 per cent increase in output for the domestic market and exports up 6.0 per cent to 101,184 units. More than three quarters of a million cars built this year are destined for overseas markets, a 77.8 per cent share of total production volumes.
America’s Car Museum (ACM) and the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) have announced that Boston will be the starting point of “The Drive Home II: The Heritage Run” – an 11-day, 2,150 mile winter road rally, from December 28 to January 7, concluding at the opening of the North American International Auto Show. The Drive Home II (TDH II) will feature ACM’s 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, 1961 Chrysler 300G and 1966 Ford Mustang, all of which completed the first “The Drive Home” in early 2016, from the Museum’s headquarters in Tacoma, Washington to Detroit.
After choosing to kit out its GTE factory team cars on Dunlop rubber for 2016, Aston Martin Racing reports that its #98 GTE AM entry will revert to Michelin tyres for the rest of the current FIA World Endurance Championship season. It appears the Vantage GTE driven by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda will be fitted with Michelins for the remaining races as the drivers have struggled with the Dunlop tyres, which like all tyres used in GTE AM feature 2015-specification compounds. Aston Martin Racing shares that Dalla Lana, together with the team, requested the change.
European fleets are gearing up for the changeover to winter tyres – and Kraiburg Austria is catering to this by offering its partners a new city bus design, the K702 plus. The drive axle pattern’s design, says Kraiburg, lends itself to outstanding traction and braking characteristics. These qualities are particularly noticeable in extreme climiatic conditions, such as on snow-covered or wet road surfaces. The use of the premium K_plus compound delivers high mileage, even levels of wear and lower operating temperatures. The use of an irregular tread design also ensures that noise development is reduced.
Alligator Ventilfabrik has introduced a new version of the patented CVVEasy tyre valve, the CVVEasy TR 412 for trailers. This addition to the range meets the demand for increased tyre pressures of more than 4.5 bar and offers an alternative to screw-type valves, which are difficult to install in the required length. In combination with the new DS-P valve cap (more on this below), the total length of the CVVEasy TR 412 is 47 millimetres.
Sometimes tyre people are creatures of habit. They like what they know and they know what they like. So when change comes it can feel disorientating. But change is also the engine of progress. And standing still is virtually synonymous with going backwards.