On 4 January 2017The US Department of Commerce (DOC) made final determinations in the countervailing duty investigations of imported off-the-road (OTR) tyres from India and Sri Lanka. In the India countervailing duty investigation, the DOC calculated a final subsidy rate of 5.36 per cent for mandatory respondent Balkrishna Industries and a final subsidy rate of 4.9 per cent for mandatory respondent ATC Tires. The government agency established a subsidy rate of 5.06 per cent for all other producers/exporters in India. In the Sri Lanka countervailing duty investigation, the DOC calculated a final subsidy rate of 2.18 per cent for mandatory respondent Camso Loadstar and for all other producers/exporters in Sri Lanka.
Smithers Rapra has enchanced its tread wear testing capabilities for passenger, light truck and commercial vehicle tyres at its test centre in Ravenna, Ohio, USA. According to the company, the upgraded equipment and software can run a wide variety of drive profiles while supporting benchmarking and development requirements.
US-based motor racing sanctioning body Indycar has agreed to a multi-year extension of its contract with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operation for the Verizon IndyCar Series, thus confirming the continuation of Firestone as the official tyre to the series. Upon announcing the extension of its arrangement, Bridgestone notes that the brand has been involved in open-wheel racing since Firestone tyres were fitted to the winning car in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
Yokohama Rubber’s North American manufacturing and sales operation has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with US Youth Soccer. The agreement names Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC) as the “Official Tire Sponsor of US Youth Soccer” and also gives YTC title sponsorship of the Yokohama Skills Challenge, a US-wide tour designed to help children of all ages develop a variety of core football skills in a fun, engaging way.
Shortly after its acquisition by Yogesh Mahansaria and private equity company Warburg Pincus in 2007, the Alliance Tire Group (ATG) exited the car and truck tyre market and began building up a strong reputation as an off-road tyre specialist. A decade later and the company is revisiting one of these former businesses; this year, the Yokohama Rubber subsidiary is releasing a new brand of truck tyre. ATG is currently restricting availability of its new Constellation range to the US market, however it hasn’t ruled out introducing it into other regions at a later date.
Throughout the course of this year, Toyo Tire & Rubber’s manufacturing operation in North America will expand its research and development capabilities in order to expedite the development of both original equipment and replacement market tyres. The company has not disclosed the level of investment being made in the Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing facility, however it will result in a 50 per cent increase in the size of the research and development team.
WAI has appointed Christine Smith to the role of marketing and communications manager. Based in Florida, as part of WAI’s US division, Smith joins from a sales and technology background, having worked previously in marketing, operations & management roles with API, Gatekeeper Business Solutions, Universal Health Services (UHS), Fine Lions, & Direct Office Interiors.
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.
Bartec Auto ID is currently an example of a company and brand more famous outside its domestic market than within it, though a recent behind-the-scenes event at the tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and automotive diagnostic equipment manufacturer’s headquarters near Barnsley, South Yorkshire showed how managing director Colin Webb and his team plan to raise the profile of this British manufacturing success story. In the TPMS sector, growing globally with the support of legislation, Bartec claims a market share of more than 80 per cent of car plant installations in Europe and North America, achieved since its first installation for Renault in 1998, and a similar proportion of aftermarket TPMS tools coverage, with 95,000 TPMS devices in North America – including 96 of the 100 largest tyre retail chains – and 28,000 in Europe. The company supplies OEM tools to marques such as Mercedes, Ford and Volkswagen, while manufacturing tools for aftermarket brands like Snap On (TPMS2), Mac Tools (TPR), Schrader (Exp’Air and Activ’air), and Bosch (TPA200).
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has signed a technology agreement with California-based Tesloop Inc. to model tyre performance based on data generated by the city-to-city mobility service. Tesloop operates a fleet of semi-autonomous Tesla vehicles, providing a shared passenger transportation service for distances between 50 and 300 miles.
Michelin has begun selling tyres at MichelinMan.com, expanding its online tyre retail trial in North America. As a result, online retail tyre sales for consumers in Southeast markets through MichelinMedia.com. The site aims to simplify the tyre-buying process so consumers can research, select and purchase tyres, as well as schedule installation with a local Michelin service partner all in one location.
Plans to build a precipitated silica production facility in the US state of South Carolina have been officially confirmed by Evonik Industries. The new plant will be located in the Bushy Park industrial area near Charleston, close to the factories of a number of tyre makers, including Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, Trelleborg and (as of 2017) Giti Tire. Evonik Industries will invest approximately US$120 million in the plant, which will be completed in 2018.
Since gaining a much greater degree of freedom to conduct business in North America and Europe with the dissolution of its global alliance with Goodyear in October 2015, the Sumitomo Rubber Group has striven to enhance its R&D, production and sales infrastructure to better serve these markets. As part of these efforts, the tyre maker has built a new, 3,500 square metre USA Technical Center on the grounds of its Tonawanda factory in New York State. Sumitomo Rubber Industries reports that this facility will become fully operational in January 2017. The company is also moving forward with the preparations for a Europe Technical Center, which it expects to be fully operational as of September 2017.
Michelin’s Fort Wayne plant in Indiana, USA may benefit from a US$100 million investment in efficiency and quality. Local television channel WANE-TV states that Michelin is looking to spend $20 million on upgrading processes and equipment, $23.5 million on improving production and efficiency, $18.5 million on improving quality verification and $38 on tooling and moulds. It adds that no new jobs will be created as a result of the investment.