Mike Welch’s global aspirations for Blackcircles.com pre-date the Scottish company’s acquisition by Michelin, however the tyre maker has provided a platform for expansion, and over the coming year Blackcircles will work towards establishing a presence on the other side of the world. Speaking with The Scotsman, the founder and chief executive officer shared that consumers in Asia Pacific will soon get to know the Blackcircles way of buying tyres.
Bridgestone has announced an additional investment in its Wilson tyre plant in the USA. The passenger car and light truck tyre making facility in North Carolina will receive a new, state-of-the-art rubber mixer under a newly-announced US$180 million investment that will also facilitate the introduction of more innovative manufacturing processes and technologies. This investment is in addition to the $164 million expansion announced in January 2016.
ATS Euromaster has opened of a new 5,300 square foot facility in Bracknell – marking the brand’s first presence in the booming Berkshire town. Located on the Trade City estate on Western Road, the new centre will provide car and van tyre and vehicle maintenance for consumers and fleets. It also means it is situated just a mile from Bracknell town centre, and close to vital transport routes connecting London with the South and South West.
Gripen Wheels recently invested heavily in new warehousing, modern logistics, and a major new IT system for all the Gripen companies. These new investments link together all Gripen companies throughout Europe, making the firm capable of stocking over 10,000 Earthmover tyres at any one time.
After the announcement of the launch of Point S in Malaysia, Point S has expanded further into Asia, namely India. Point S concept will be implemented in India through Master Franchise Agreements with three regional partners who will be covering 5 of the most dynamic States: Deviate Enterprises for the Nation Capital Territory of Delhi and Punjab; GIAAN International for Maharashtra and Goa; and Tyrekada for Kerala.
After the firm’s official opening in the UK in early 2015, specialist TPMS and valve manufacturer Hamaton Ltd reports it is pleased to look back on a year that has seen the business go from strength to strength, with increasing sales and an enhanced reputation developing throughout the global TPMS market. One sign of this is the firm’s decision to move to large UK premises.
VMI Group broke ground on its new manufacturing plant in Leszno, Poland on 2 November 2016. In the first phase, the company is building a 13,500 m2 facility on its 8 hectare plot of land with goal of extending the current manufacturing capabilities of the company. VMI Group now has entities in 8 countries on 5 continents.
Following the implementation of US import tariffs in the last year (car tyres 2015; truck tyres 2016) and the widespread recognition of vast oversupply in the Chinese manufacturing base, there has been talk of consolidation of tyre industry in the People’s Republic for some time. In the last few weeks however, it has become apparent that several Dongying, Shandong-based tyre manufacturers (especially those found in the Gungrao district) have experienced serious difficulties resulting in bankruptcies, buyouts and mergers. Now the consolidation trend appears to be gathering speed. Deruibao Tire was the first to go pop more than a year ago, taking the private brand orders of some well-known wholesalers and importers with it, before its assets were taken on by fast-growing Qingdao Doublestar in what some characterised as a shotgun wedding, but was also a sign of things to come. Several local Chinese news sources named Dongying-based Hengyu Tire as the next to go (with the latter apparently declaring bankruptcy on 14 February), followed by the smaller and younger O’Green and Watson Tyre factories. At the same time, various Chinese tyre distributors report that Yongtai Chemical’s tyre operations have shut down. Company representatives were not available for comment. However, we do know that Yongtai-owned Covpress (a Coventry-based panel metal supplier to well-known OEMs including Jaguar Land Rover) has entered administration. And furthermore, DMack – which had made itself popular selling World Rally Championship tyres made at Yongtai Chemical – switched production of its tarmac competition tyres to Cooper Tire Europe’s Avon Motorsport division in Melksham in mid-August (see “Yongtai Chemical-owned Covpress in administration” for further details).
Cimcorp is supplying a fully automated handling system to Petlas Tire Corporation at its factory in Kirsehir, Turkey, about 100 miles southeast of Ankara. Based on Cimcorp's Dream Factory solution, the automation will handle finished passenger car radial tyre-finishing and palletizing areas. Work on the order – Cimcorp’s first project for Petlas – is already underway and the turnkey material handling system will become operational in the autumn of 2017.
On 24 October Japanese conglomerate Marubeni announced it had purchased a large minority shareholding in Mexican tyre dealer Radial Llantas. According to the company, Marubeni has bought 49 per cent of the shares in Radial Llantas. The pricetag for the stockholding is said to be “several billion yen”, according to Wards Auto.
Galgo has opened new European headquarters (including warehousing and offices) in order to expand the company’s retreading coverage and sales presence. This expansion takes the company from Tongeren to the Ghent-Antwerp-Brussels triangle in Belgium, close to inland Beverdonk and the Meerhout container terminal.
Brembo announced that it inaugurated its new brake plant in Escobedo, Mexico on 20 October. Completed in record time, with an investment of $36 million, the new plant will focus on the production of aluminium calipers and is intended to strengthen Brembo’s presence in North America. At the same time the company announced a plan to invest an additional $93 million to build a new foundry for cast iron discs.
Trinseo announced that it will expand capacity for Solution-Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR) on 24 October 2016. According to the company, this increased investment is a direct response to rising customer demand for this technology.