Top 10 news articles of the past week
The results table for the 2016 Auto Bild all-season tyre test saw last year’s winner and runner-up – the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons and Michelin CrossClimate – swap places. This occurrence means that this year’s size 205/55 R16 all-season tyre test was in fact won by a summer tyre, as Michelin considers its CrossClimate a summer fitment designed and legally approved for year-round use. Call it what you like, at any rate the Auto Bild team deemed the Michelin CrossClimate the pick of the ten-tyre bunch, and awarded it the test’s only ‘exemplary’ rating.
While it was difficult to predict the outcome of June’s EU referendum, it is even harder to predict what the resulting Brexit vote means for the tyre business. Much of the discussion relating to the post-Brexit tyre market has focused on the legislative changes that may be coming. However, just over three months after the Brexit vote, the latest pricing data from market insight specialists Encircle Marketing appears to suggest that while UK sterling tyre prices are going up, exchange rate effects mean theses same UK prices are moving in the opposite direction when converted into euro equivalents.
While some manufacturers lobby for tyres to be replaced at 3 or even 4 mm, Michelin maintains that the current legal limit of 1.6 mm is “perfectly suited” to modern motoring and has reaffirmed its opposition to a change in the legislation. Indeed, during the course of the Paris Motor Show, Michelin’s top executives will be making this argument with journalists, OEMs and of course the public.
Birmingham-based Dunlop Aircraft Tyres Ltd (DATL) has confirmed that the company is looking for new investors. And this means that “initial discussions” with “a number of interested parties” are already underway. According to the company’s executive chairman Ian Edmondson, the goal is to find a suitable partner to help the company continue to move forward at its current rate of positive growth: “Our shareholders are now seeking to find a new investor who is in a position to help the business maintain the outstanding growth record that it has delivered in recent years.”
As a way of introducing its 2016 summer tyre test, German vehicle inspection organisation GTÜ poses the question: Is expensive really better when purchasing tyres? To provide an answer, GTÜ – together with car magazine Auto Zeitung – evaluated 14 size 225/45 R 17 summer tyres that ranged in price between €210 and €430 per set. The test candidates included recent releases from Dunlop, Goodyear, Falken and GT Radial, as well as several products described as “budget tyres from the Far East.”
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (@CooperTire) has regained first place in Tyres & Accessories’ annual global tyre social media ranking. The US-based tyre manufacturer topped the chart in 2014, with a score of 84. However, the company’s score decreased to 78.3 in 2015 and the firm fell back to third place. Nevertheless, this year’s score of 81.7 is enough to return Cooper to the top of the tree, with 9.65 points of clear water between it and last year’s winner Pirelli.
Nokian Tyres’ president and CEO Ari Lehtoranta has resigned in order to “pursue new opportunities outside of Nokian Tyres”. According to the company, Lehtoranta will continue in his present position until the end of 2016. Lehtoranta only joined Nokian in May 2014 and will be remembered for his decision to own up to company’s magazine tyre test manipulation in February 2016.
No less than 15 tyres took part in the 2015 summer tyre test carried out by Finnish trade publication Tekniikan Maailma (World of Technology). Size 205/55 R 16 tyres from premium, mid-range and budget manufacturers were fitted to a VW Golf and evaluated by specialists from Test World in Ivalo, Finland and ranked according to performance in a series of wet and dry tests. Continental’s ContiPremiumContact 5 topped the table with a score of 9.5 out of 10 and a rating of five out five stars, however an entry from another premium manufacturer didn’t fare so well.
ATS Euromaster, in partnership with Blackcircles, has opened its second quick tyre change facility at the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex, following the success of the first Pit Stop location in Cambridge.
Lexus has introduced its Lexus UX concept car, fitted with Goodyear Urban Crossover concept tyres, at the Paris Motor Show 2016. The car is matched with special tyres, showcasing the cooperation between the two companies.