The TBC Corporation has turned in a strong financial performance for the first quarter of the year. Net sales were up by 69 per cent to $433.8 million (1Q 2003: $256.5 m) while net income rose by more than nine per cent to $6 million ($5.5 m). In volume terms, tyre sales rose by 32 per cent. Both wholesale and retail divisions performed well and TBC expects annual earnings to be better than originally forecast.
Bridgestone has picked up its ninth consecutive annual “Supplier of the Year” award from General Motors. The company was one of 77 winners, chosen from more than 3,500 suppliers to GM across the world.
200 jobs are to go from a total workforce of 1,150 at Continental’s factory at Mayfield, Kentucky. The losses will be implemented at the beginning of July, as production is reduced from 10,900 tyres a day to 7,300. Continental operates five factories in the USA and Mexico, employing a total of 10,500 and the company has said that it has no plans to axe a factory.
Prices of Bridgestone, Firestone and Dayton brand tyres in the USA and Canada will be increased on June 1st. The price rises will affect both OE and replacement tyres and will be up to five per cent, although some off-the-road tyre prices could go up by eight per cent. The company says that it has taken steps to minimise the effects of rising raw material costs, but has been unable to offset them entirely, hence the price increase.
Marangoni Tread’s factory at Madison, Tennessee has begun producing Ringtread spliceless precure tread rings. The timing is impeccable, as Marangoni’s business in North America continues to grow, with this year so far 50 per cent higher than 2003. The 50,000 square foot factory is part of a $10 million investment by Marangoni in US manufacturing, supplying the 15 Ringtread dealers currently operating in North America.
Bridgestone has supplied its one millionth runflat tyre – more than any other manufacturer, claims the corporation. The first runflats were prod uced in the early 1980s for physically disabled motorists and Bridgestone’s first runflats for a production car were delivered in 1987 for the Porsche 959, then the world’s fastest production car. Since 1999, Bridgestone has supplied runflats as OE for nine vehicle models. The majority of the 1,000,000 runflats have been sold in Europe.
Pelmar Engineering, the Israel – based dealers in used, reconditioned and new tyre machinery, have recently bought the entire equipment released by Goodyear Wolverhampton as a result of closure of about 50 per cent of their plant. The equipment is now being dismantled and removed; part of it directly to customers and part to Pelmar’s warehouse in Manchester. It includes mainly rubber compounding and processing equipment, such as complete extruder lines, calendering lines, mixing lines and miscellaneous other machinery. Pelmar has seven warehouses in Europe, Israel and U.K., providing machinery, engineering and complete turnkey projects related to the technical rubber and tyre industries worldwide.
David S. Craig has been made Director, Advertising for North America in the latest move in Cooper Tire’s realignment. He joined Cooper in 1993 as a territory sales manager in international sales and served as European marketing manager between 2001-2002. His most recent appointment was as manager, associated brand advertising and communications. He has a bachelor’s degree and is currently working for his MBA.
The International Tire Expo–part of the SEMA Show in the USA–is changing its name to “Performance Wheels & Tires sponsored by TIA”. TIA is the Tire Industry Association and the event will still be held in conjunction with the SEMA Show. This year’s event runs from November 2 – 5 in Las Vegas.
In the USA, JD Power has carried out a study of new vehicles and their defect rates, polling 51,000 owners of new cars in the first 90 days of ownership. Those marques scoring above the industry average of defects per 100 vehicles were Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and BMW. Hyundai fared better than Toyota for the first time, with respective scores of 102 and 104. However, it should be noted that the Toyota score does not include the Lexus Division, which once again proved to be the top-quality vehicle.
Cooper Tire & Rubber’s strategic realignment has resulted in two Vice Presidential sales and marketing appointments. Carl A. Casalbore has been made Vice President, Marketing and Retail Sales for the North American Tire Division. He joined Cooper in 1999 as a director of sales, after 20 years’ service with a competitor and his most recent post was that of VP, retail sales and high performance tyre development. The second appointment is that of Phillip D. Caris, as Vice President Sales & Marketing for the North American Tire Division. His 21-year Cooper career includes several sales and marketing roles, latterly as VP, marketing. Both appointments are effective from 1st May.
Australian motorists’ organisation the RACV has warned that space-saver spare tyres could increase stopping distances by 50 per cent and reduce cornering grip by up to 13 per cent. This follows tests against standard tyres on four vehicles–small, large and mid-sized cars and a four wheel drive. The tests were an emergency stop from 80 km/h, a cornering test on a 50 metre circle and an emergency swerve. The RACV estimates that a quarter of Australian new cars are fitted with the skinny, space-savers, which are standard on more than 50 individual models, and it calls for dealers to point out the performance limitations to potential buyers.
VW, which has warned that its 1Q results would be bad, was hit further yesterday when it recalled 870,000 Passats, Audi A6 and A8 models. The worldwide recall is because of a possible fault to the cars’ front axles. The news affected the company’s share price, which at one stage fell by two per cent.
Pirelli Tire North America is to increase prices of passenger car and light truck tyres from 1st June. All Pirelli branded tyres will be affected by the increase, which will vary by product offering but will average three per cent. PTNA President and CEO Guy Mannino blamed raw material costs for the increase, but added that they were lower than in other parts of the world because of manufacturing efficiencies made by PTNA.
Polyurethane car tyres, made by the Amerityre Corporation, have passed US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 109, which specify tyre dimensions, load ratings and laboratory test requirements for bead unseating resistance, strength, endurance and high speed performance. Passing the test is the first step towards a tyre being able to be offered for sale in the USA.