Although Continental says the economic environment in the first quarter of 2016 was as “difficult as expected,” the company reports making a good start to the year. In the three months to 31 March, the tyre maker and automotive supplier’s sales rose three per cent year-on-year to €9.85 billion, even though negative exchange-rate effects had reduced this sales growth by 2.1 percentage points. Adjusted EBIT climbed to €1.1 billion. At 11.3 per cent, the adjusted EBIT margin was higher than the previous year's level of 10.6 per cent.
Tyre manufacturers are reporting that UK truck tyre replacement demand is steadily shifting to 315/70 R22.5 fitments over traditional sizes such as 295/80 R22.5. According to Michelin, which published a statement on the trend on 4 May, the trend is being driven by the growth of Euro VI registrations and “operators realising the total cost of ownership benefits offered”.
The Building Construction Products Division of Caterpillar, Inc., has presented Alliance Tire Group (ATG) with a fourth-quarter 2015 Business Continuity Planning award in recognition of the company’s “perfect performance” in supplying Galaxy Beefy Baby tyres to Cat’s Sanford, North Carolina, plant.
One of the UK’s most prestigious rally events celebrates two important landmarks this weekend, with its title sponsor and tyre supplier at centre stage. The Pirelli Carlisle Rally – part of the British Rally Championship 2016 following the series’ relaunch – runs its 40th edition, and 25th under the Italian manufacturer’s name. Pirelli said its British Rally Championship stars would fight to deliver a victory on the home ground of high-speed gravel roads in the Kielder Forest. The rally consists of seven stages over Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, totalling 75 competitive miles.
According to Michelin, some 53 million intermediate-range tyres are sold in Europe every year, and an increasing number of these are all-season tyres. The tyre maker’s own figures puts European all-season tyre sales (for all product tiers) at 10 million units in 2014, more than twice the number sold two years earlier. Michelin has developed a product that targets the all-season market within the intermediate segment, and is launching it this month. The new Kleber Quadraxer 2 is now available as a replacement market fitment.
This year Heuver Tyrewholesale celebrates its 50th birthday, and at the same time another person of significance to the company celebrates an important birthday milestone. Jan Heuver has turned 65 and reached the Netherland’s official retirement age, and therefore is stepping down as a director of Heuver Tyrewholesale. He was honoured by Heuver Tyrewholesale employees at an internal function held to mark the company’s half-century, and his retirement was further observed by the establishment of ‘Jan!’, the Jan Heuver Foundation, a surprise farewell gift the wholesaler believes a fitting one for the public-minded director.
Last month, talk of tyre testing irregularities came to the fore following Nokian’s admissions of “mistakes” in this area. In the April edition of Tyres & Accessories we follow up on this story in some detail with a survey of leading manufacturers’ responses to the issue of the day and an exclusive interview with Nokian president and CEO Ari Lehtoranta. While the detailed views of the world’s leading tyre makers are many and varied, they are all unified in their denials of any underhand behaviour relating to magazine and association tyre testing (see "Top tyre manufacturers deny involvement in tyre test manipulation" for the full story). And yet Nokian’s Lehtoranta has clearly pointed the finger at the broader industry on a number of occasions in the past – and apparently is continuing to do so.