Top 10 news articles of the past week
With a decisive snip, more than a year’s work was officially complete. Four representatives from Hankook Tire’s global and European operations, suitably rugged up for the occasion, were on hand to open a facility that extends the tyre maker’s aim of self-contained development and manufacture of tyres for European markets. The inauguration of the ‘Technotrac’ facility gives Hankook Tire a permanent home alongside one of the world’s best-known winter test grounds, something that Ho-Youl Pae is very proud of.
For this year’s summer tyre test, German motoring organisation ADAC, together with its Austrian and Swiss partners, evaluated a total of 31 tyre models – 16 size 195/65 R15 91V tyres were fitted to a VW Golf for testing, while 15 size 215/65 R16 98H products were evaluated using a VW Tiguan. Most tests were performed by ADAC personnel at facilities owned by Bridgestone and Continental.
As in previous years, Auto Bild has separated the wheat from the chaff in its 2017 summer tyre test with a qualifying round. This year, the original 52 candidates were whittled down to 20 finalists through wet and dry braking tests.
The promise is of not only a better-performing synthetic rubber, but also a sustainable one. Bridgestone Corporation has announced its successful creation of a new synthetic isoprene rubber (IR), something it achieved through precise molecular structure control utilising a new polymerisation catalyst. The company believes the new IR can deliver durability and fuel-efficiency performance surpassing that of natural rubber, and as it can be created using isoprene derived from renewable biomass, it offers the potential to be a sustainable material. Bridgestone aims to achieve the practical application of IR during the 2020s.
Continental Tyres has been awarded Consumer Superbrands status for 2017. This follows the release of the latest results of the long-running annual survey, which has been identifying the UK’s leading brands since 1995. The process, managed by The Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA), questioned 2,500 British adults who assessed just over 1,500 brands. Consumers judged the brands on three key criteria: quality, reliability and distinction.
Prices for Apollo and Vredestein brand tyres are going up, but not yet. Apollo Vredestein has announced its intention to increase prices by up to eight per cent on 1 May 2017. Exact increases for each product will depend upon structural and exchange rate variations, and the changes will affect the passenger car, light truck, agricultural and industrial tyre segments. The company considers the price increase to be “in line” with the rising cost of raw materials it has experienced in all markets.
Following the US International Trade Commission (ITC)’s decision not to place import tariffs on China truck tyres, Chinese officials have welcomed the news. The ITC determination was made on 22 February 2017 on the basis that tyres from China “did not materially injure or threaten to damage the US industry”, and that no anti-dumping or countervailing duties would be imposed on those products.
It’s summer tyre test season, or at least the time of year when the results are published. German car magazine Autozeitung has evaluated ten size 215/55 R17 W/Y products. Its decision to only test tyres available for retail purchase at the time means that two newcomers, the Bridgestone Turanza T001 Evo and the Continental PremiumContact 6, aren’t included amongst the ten. Instead, the two brands were represented by each tyre’s respective predecessor.
On 8 February a team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, announced that they have invented a new technology to produce automobile tyres from trees and grasses. According to reports, the University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology Commercialization, has applied for a patent on the renewable rubber technology and plans to license the technology to companies interested in commercializing it.
Pirelli has celebrated a “real achievement” after its Cinturato P1 Verde 195/65R15 91V model took pole position in the ADAC summer tyre test. The tyre beat 15 competitors, including Pirelli’s premium brand rivals, with the Cinturato P1 Verde commended on its balance, performance in the wet, and low noise. ADAC added that “the Pirelli tyre stands out with good wear characteristics,” which the tyre manufacturer describes as a key priority in the highly-competitive “city car” sector.