Toyota is launching a joint venture with First Automotive Works, China’s biggest car manufacturer, to make luxury sedans, SUVs and cheaper, smaller cars in China for the local market. The target is to sell up to 400,000 vehicles a year by 2010 and an unconfirmed report suggests that the investment will total 1.29 billion Euros.
The Rugby Primary Care Trust has given the go-ahead for tyre burning trials at the town’s cement works, provided emissions are “rigorously and independently monitored”. A Health Impact Assessment report said that the only pollutant to increase was likely to be zinc and levels of arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, nickel and lead would be less, compared with burning only coal. The decision was greeted angrily by protestors, some of who turned up at the meeting carrying a coffin.
Three Daewoo factories have been idle for two days after Korea Delphi Automotive Systems shut off component supplies in a row over payment. KDAS is Daewoo’s largest parts supplier and is said to be owed US$ 109 million by the car manufacturer. 200 other suppliers are also said to be considering cutting off supplies.
The last Rolls-Royce to be made at the factory in Crewe has rolled off the production line, marking the end of 56 years of manufacture of the luxury car at the plant. In future, Rolls-Royces will be made at BMW’s factory in West Sussex and the Crewe plant will be renamed Bentley Motors Ltd. next month. The final vehicle was a unique two-door Silver Storm convertible Corniche, worth an estimated 250,000 Pounds.
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death on Monday of Chris Groenewald (59), UK Sales Director of Varta Automotive Batteries, following a year-long battle against illness. He joined Varta in 1982 and was a popular and respected figure, who will be missed by his many friends in the battery industry.
Nokian Tyres has developed two new high performance summer tyres, tailored for Central Europe, the USA and Nordic countries, and which will go on sale next spring. The NRVi is a V-rated tyre available in 19 sizes and features an info field near the bead area – the tyre fitter marks the field with the correct inflation pressure for the driver’s convenience. The second tyre, the NRY, is Z-rated (maximum speed 300 km/hr) and comes in six sizes, which correspond to OE sizes of many luxury cars.
There are reports that CVC is considering the merger of Kwik-Fit and Halfords, both of which it owns. Kwik-Fit is a true fast-fit operation, while Halfords deals in auto accessories. The reports suggest possible synergies, such as purchasing, plus gains from selling properties in locations where there is duplication. CVC would not comment on the story. The car servicing side of Halfords business was bought by the AA a year or so ago and has been re-branded AA Service Centres.
Goodyear’s Canadian operation has won a three-year contract to supply tyres to all police pursuit vehicles in the province of Quebec. The contract, the value of which was not revealed, means that these vehicles will be fitted with Goodyear’s RSA Plus tyres; a product designed specifically for police use and which is fitted as OE on Chevrolet Impala, Ford Crown Victoria and Chrysler Intrepid police pursuit vehicles.
Federal Corporation of Taiwan has reported strong second quarter sales growth, up 19.4 per cent over the same period last year. 2Q sales were US$ 25.7 million (21.5 million in 2Q 2001) and markets outside Taiwan and China contributed US$ 18.9 million, or 77 per cent of the total. For the first six months of the year, sales are up by 18.3 per cent, at US$ 48.9 million.
In South Africa, a V8 speedster called Spirit of Dunlop, shod with locally-produced SP Sport 7000D tyres, achieved an average speed of 388.538 km/hr over a measures kilometre, monitored by Motorsport SA. This is an unofficial, but recognised, World Land Speed Record for standard production tyres, says Dunlop Tyres South Africa. It also beats the South African Land Speed Record of 372.401 km/hr, which has stood since 1990. The Spirit of Dunlop was driven by three times SA Production Car Champion Grant van Schalkwyk.
The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company’s new business to business website, which was recently launched by the Findlay, USA-based tyre manufacturer, currently only allows U.S. customers to place orders via the internet. However, It is planned to make the service available in Europe early next year.
There are reports that Indian companies JK Industries and Vikrant Tyres Ltd. are exploring the possibilities of a merger to form one tyre company. JK Industries has outlined the plan to its lender, the Industrial Development Bank of India and is awaiting a response, while Vikrant has proposed a number of restructuring scenarios to its directors, one of which involves a merger with JKI.
By forming a company – Michelin Algerie – Michelin has made the first move to re-open its factory in Algeria, which was closed in 1993. A Government-led privatisation programme has been aimed at attracting foreign investment and Michelin is said to be “waiting for some answers from Government” before deciding whether to re-start production. Should this happen, the factory will employ 500 people and manufacture truck tyres, 60 per cent of which will be exported.
Porsche yesterday opened a new 127 million Euros factory at Leipzig, eastern Germany, to produce the new Cayenne SUV, a vehicle developed in conjunction with VW. The new factory, next to a 4km test track and customer centre, will also produce the Carrera GT sports car from the middle of next year.
Automotive safety experts in the USA have said that “erroneous inflation recommendations from Ford” may have played a part in the recent recall of nearly 600,000 Continental tyres, fitted as OE on Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators. Rear tyres should have been inflated to 33 p.s.i., but Ford recommended 30 p.s.i. It has not been determined whether or not low pressure contributed to the current recall, but some observers pointed to the difference in recommended pressures by Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone as a factor in the spate of accidents involving Explorer SUVs and Firestone tyres.