Continental: Go West
Last year Continental did not perform as well as its managers expected: unprofitable commercial tyre division, failed ContiTech sale, heavy losses in the North American tyre business unit. Then, in September there were the changes at top management level: Dr. Stephan Kessel quit, Manfred Wennemer replaced him. He announced – immediately after assuming the responsibility – some wider restructuring measures. “All parts of the company are under scrutiny, and there are no holy cows”, he emphasised. Following this statement we heard the announcement of closures like the factories in Traiskirchen/Austria or in Herstal/Belgium. However, there has been a commitment to the commercial tyre business and to activities in North America, although the target is clear: a return back to profitability. New high mileage truck tyres like the HSR 1 (also featured in NEUE REIFENZEITUNG) are a first step in the commercial tyre business. With an increasing marketing budget and new tyres for the North American market, Dr. Ulrich Wellen, new President and CEO at Continental Tire North America since the beginning of this year, holds out hope for a turnaround in the USA too.