As part of its wide-ranging business review, Kwik-Fit has decided to focus its fast-fit operations under the single Kwik-Fit name, which will involve the integration of the Tyre Plus chain into the main Kwik-Fit business. This will entail the closure of the Tyre Plus head office in Motherwell and a number of support offices around the country. Tyre Plus operates from 256 sites and 115 will transfer to Kwik-Fit, with 140 centres being closed.
The Audi A6 Quattro will be equipped with Michelin’s PAX System, size 215-650 R 440 96 Y Primacy Pilot (Summer version) and 205-640 R 440 97 H Alpine Pilot (Winter version). Audi already fits the PAX System to its A8 model.
There are reports that Michelin is about to launch an upmarket running shoe in conjunction with tennis equipment manufacturer Babolat. The footwear, the cost of which is reckoned to be between $65 and $120, will be made from the same rubber as Michelin tyres, so presumably should provide excellent grip, wet or dry.
Bridgestone is to invest 12.6 billion Thai Baht (256.79 m Euros) to raise output in Thailand of tyres, cord and carbon black, in order to meet expected rising global demand. Steel cord production at the Chon Buri factory will triple to 28,000 tonnes by 2005 and work will start on building a tyre factory there next April, producing 900,000 radial truck and bus tyres in the second half of the year. The Bridgestone group in Thailand consists of seven companies and the latest investments will see the local workforce grow from the present 3,600 to 5,500.
Bridgestone is to build a factory in China’s Jiangsu Province to make anti-vibration products for automobiles, both for the domestic market and export. Total investment in the four hectare site will be US$ 16 million, with production planned to start late 2004 and reaching 150,000 units a month in 2005. The plant, which will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, will operate as Bridgestone (Changzhou) Automotive Products Co. Ltd.
Michael R. Chambers, Chief Executive Officer of Tech International, has announced the appointment of Mark Noble to the position of Vice President – Strategic Planning and Business Development for the Tech Group of Companies.
The board of directors of Korean company Hyosung is to meet in China in order to demonstrate the importance of trade in that country. The company is currently building plants to produce fibre in China; not merely to take advantage of the cheaper labour, but because of the growing Chinese market.
Following the proposed phasing out of lead for use in wheel balancing weights, a number of alternative materials have been suggested, such as tin or steel. Dionys Hofmann, Europe’s largest weight manufacturer, has opted for a zinc alloy, saying that this is cheaper than tin and, unlike tin, melts at a far higher temperature than lead, enabling lead and zinc to be more easily separated in metallurgical plants.
Early in April, the Environment Agency (EA) held a press briefing to discuss the latest developments in its Tyre Watch programme. But first some background on the scale of the problem; estimates for 2002 suggest that the UK produces 450,000 tonnes of waste tyres annually, of which 73 per cent are recovered or recycled. 70,000 tonnes are currently landfilled, with a further 30,000 tonnes used in landfill engineering. When the EU ban on tyres to landfill comes into force, alternative avenues of disposal will have to be found for this 70,000 tonnes.
Exhausts are big business for fast-fits, but like tyres, the market is suffering from a proliferation of part numbers. T&A talks to a full line manufacturer, a short range manufacturer and a regional exhaust distributor to try and find out what is happening in the exhaust sector in the UK.
Ashley Croft, previously Managing Director of Stapleton’s Tyre Services until October of last year, has joined Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) as Director. His prime responsibilities at Micheldever will be the Wholesale and Logistics development of the business.
The sector of high performance 4×4 vehicles is one which has grown by leaps and bounds recently. The vast majority of these vehicles never venture far from the tarmac and are built for speed and comfort. So too are the tyres. We take a look at the latest offering in this area from Goodyear.
Used tyres are being put to good use by the Scottish Wildlife Trust on Long Craig Island to protect a colony of terns from attack by predatory birds. The tyres are filled with gravel and positioned on an unused pier, acting as shelters for the colony of common terns. When threatened, the chicks slide down the gravel and hide in the inner tyre rims. 20 tyres are being used in the initial experiment, with ample scope to extend the ternery if it proves a success.
Mobile tyre fitting is here to stay and is being offered to fleet customers (and others) as a positive advantage, saving them time and effort. Preventative maintenance, in the form of car park tyre checks at the workplace, is also becoming popular. ATS Euromaster took a long, hard look at its mobile offering and decided that a few changes were necessary.