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Triangle and TYM International have jointly announced the Chinese tyre manufacturer’s purchase of a 10 per cent share of its UK distributor’s business. TYM International general manager, Steve Eke and Triangle executive president of global business and the company’s Market Development Center, Lin Bin exchanged documents during the Triangle Group’s 2013 Global Business Summit at the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel, Shanghai on 18 May. The purchase is currently subject to ratification by the Commerce Department of the Chinese Government, though both parties are confident that the deal will proceed smoothly. This year marks the tenth anniversary of TYM’s distribution of Triangle passenger car, truck and bus, and off-the-road products and Eke told Tyrepress.com that he was very pleased to have converted “the customer-supplier relationship into a partner relationship.”
Almost precisely seven years after Edouard Michelin’s fatal accident, his father and legendary head of the Michelin-clan, François Michelin (87), has granted French weekly magazine Paris Match a rare interview and divulged a glimpse into his emotional life. François Michelin, whose daughter-in-law, Edouard’s wife, Cecilia died of cancer in 2011, today lives in retirement home in Auvergne, free from every luxury.
Pirelli has announced that it will provide Formula One with a “new range” of tyres, starting at the Canadian Grand Prix on 7-9 June. The new tyres are described as a cross between the 2012 and 2013 models, and Pirelli has restated its hope to provide tyres that allow teams to make “two to three” pit stops per race. The change has followed mounting pressure from certain teams, the most prominent being Championship-leading Red Bull. Most recently Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz added his dissenting voice to team principal, Christian Horner in claiming that F1 is “nothing to do with racing any more”. His comments followed the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, where the harsher conditions led to many drivers taking four pit stops. The revised construction of the new tyres is designed to dial back the focus on short-term performance in order to increase reliability. The current P Zero F1 range will make its final appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix on 24-26 May.
Before the Spanish Grand Prix, Paul Hembery spoke with Detlef Vogt, an editor with Tyres & Accessories’ sister magazine Neue Reifenzeitung. In this interview, the Motorsport director spoke in more detail about Pirelli’s Formula One tyre philosophy, the controversy that is quickly becoming a yearly tradition of the company’s supply tenure, and why the company is “not in the sport to be thanked or loved”.
Yet again Formula One is awash with dark whispers about the quality of the tyres provided by Pirelli. This past weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, won in style by home favourite Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), witnessed 79 pit stops with the majority of drivers – including Alonso – opting to take four. Pirelli’s current strategy for Formula One is to produce tyres designed for two-three stops over the course of the race. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), who is having arguably the most impressive season so far sitting in second place in the Drivers’ Championship, was the most successful of the six drivers to remain within these guidelines, finishing second within 10 seconds of Alonso.
A new initiative to help garages and tyre retailers across the country has been launched by the Tyre Recovery Association today. The Responsible Retailer Certificate of Compliance will be awarded to retailers meeting best practice standards by a member of the Tyre Industry Federation Responsible Recycler Scheme. The TRA says that the new scheme is designed to help garages and retailers not only to manage their used tyre disposal in line with industry standards; the Responsible Retailer Scheme also aims to help compliant businesses communicate their environmentally responsible credentials to customers. Also launched was a new website, which will contain a searchable database of all certified garages for motorists and of local collectors for retailers.
Toyo Tire & Rubber Co president Akira Nobuki has announced the completion of the company’s new tyre plant in Malaysia (TTM). Toyo is progressing towards a three-region global supply system as outlined in the company’s 2011 mid-term business plan, with factories in North America, Japan and Asia. Toyo’s Asia operations are in a process of expanded motorisation where further growth of demand is expected. Toyo is positioning Asia as a vital strategic market that will provide a boost to its business foundation.
The first quarter of 2013 appears to have been a "brutto trimestre" for Pirelli & C. SpA, with the Italian firm’s net profit dropping 41.7 per cent year-on-year between 1 January and 31 March. It was, in Pirelli’s words, a period “characterised by an economic scenario still strongly influenced by the crisis affecting Europe, where the demand for goods and services continues to shrink.”
Roughly half of the 30 million-odd tyres sold to UK motorists each year are delivered through tyre specialists, a figure that is broadly comparable with figures across Europe. And while there are some noteworthy differences between the structure of the UK tyre market and mainland Europe in general, perhaps the most interesting details are to be found within this 50 per cent. That’s why in this month’s retail chains/buying groups feature Tyres & Accessories considers the state and make-up of the sell-out market and releases the details of latest top 20 tyre retail chains survey. As well as our own research we consider data compiled and analysed by four well-known third-party research firms, however for commercial and confidentiality reasons we aren’t citing the sources individually each time they are mentioned. Instead this year’s retail report analyses their input and presents our view of the consensus.
Although admitting that difficulties were encountered in the first quarter of 2013, Continental says it “held its ground” during this period and has confirmed its guidance for the full year.
Following the announcement of Pirell’s 2013 Supplier Awards on 10 April, Tyres & Accessories spoke with Luigi Staccoli, Pirelli’s chief purchasing officer (CPO), to find out more what makes a good supplier. First, Luigi Staccoli offered his appraisal of the awards event itself: “It was a very successful presentation of the awards with an event demonstrating the performance of Pirelli products running in parallel.” The parallel event is said to have offered representatives of the winning suppliers the opportunity to drive some of the most exciting vehicles available such as the Ferrari California and Lamborghini Galliardo on a test track near Milan.
The latest in a succession of leaders at Tyre Fort in Birmingham, Erich Fric brings with him an easy-going, but teutonic clarity into his (relatively) new role of Goodyear Dunlop UK managing director. Almost a year after news of the appointment was released, Tyres & Accessories visited the company headquarters in mid-April for the MD’s first published interview in his current role where he shared his views on the British tyre market and recent corporate criticism of the companies EMEA region.
British prime minister David Cameron visited Pirelli’s factory in Carlisle on Friday 26 April where he met with the chairman and CEO of Pirelli, Marco Tronchetti Provera, as well as Italian Ambassador, Pasquale Terraciano, and chairman of Pirelli Tyres Ltd, Mr Dominic Sandivasci. The prime minister was on a tour to the area as part of his campaigning activities ahead of local elections and incorporated the visit to the Pirelli factory, which in 2011 was awarded a £2 million grant from the Regional Growth Fund.
Despite significant drops in first quarter sales and profitability, Nokian used the publication of its latest financial results as an opportunity to rebuff negativity relating to its exposure to the Russian market. In the first quarter of 2013 Nokian Tyres Group’s net sales decreased by 13.3 per cent to 333.1 million euros (1Q 2012: 384.3 million euros). Operating profit fell even more sharply, dropping 27 per cent to 76.3 million (1Q 2012: 105 million euros). The tyre manufacturer blamed historically low levels of tyre demand in Europe, but also presented the case that demand for replacement car tyres in 2013 will be on previous year’s level in Nordic countries even if it does remain weak in Europe.
Every three years Bauma, the international trade fair for construction machinery, mining machinery, construction vehicles and equipment, takes place in the German city of Munich. The show also serves as a focal point for tyre makers, wholesalers and equipment suppliers serving the off-road segment. And although many within Europe’s tyre industry are not experiencing the best of times at the moment, most Bauma exhibitors were nevertheless in very high spirits and saw themselves, as companies active within the OTR tyre sector, as an “island of the blessed” surrounded by a highly contrasting situation in the passenger car and truck tyre markets. Many exhibitors expressed hope of once again experiencing sound growth within their market segments in 2013, yet one thing was clear: Everyone in the market realises that, in the long-term, real growth will only take place outside of Europe.
Although Goodyear Tire & Rubber shipped fewer tyres and generated lower sales in the first three months of 2013 than a year earlier, the bottom line for the quarter was much healthier. The only regional disappointment was, predictably, Europe – and Goodyear says it will address weakness in the European markets by implementing “additional productivity improvements”. Specific details regarding these measures have yet to be announced.
Ian Stuart is to retire at the end of May 2013 after seven years as group managing director of ATS Euromaster, the UK’s largest comprehensive tyre specialist. He will be replaced by Peter Allen, who is currently commercial director of Michelin Canada.
Less then five decades after starting out as a one-man tyre business in western Holland, Heuver Tyrewholesale has grown into a major commercial segment wholesaler. Today the company is headquartered in Hardenberg, near the Dutch border with Germany, and specialises in supplying truck, OTR and agricultural tyres to customers throughout Europe. Tyres and Accessories recently spoke with director Bertus Heuver about Heuver Tyrewholesale’s current activities and focus; he shared that during 2013 the wholesaler is introducing an entirely new brand and intends to grow in at least two key regions.
It seems being spoiled for choice may also spoil our chances of receiving the tyre service we want, when we want it. Michelin’s head of Fleet, Dave Crinson, opines that a wholesale shift in the way drivers view tyre appointments needs to occur due to the number of tyres now available on the market. This diversity means drivers who arrive unannounced at fast-fit suppliers may end up with a second or third choice tyre, or may be required to return at a later date.