Order intake and volumes of the current Porsche 911 versions have developed far better than the company expected. The company highlights the strong mix and the positive impact on margins, also Cayenne volumes are running strong. New 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S 911 will come to the market mid July at the same time. Porsche is on track to reach record earnings this year, and analysts are confident to see another strong increase in earnings next year.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced today that the lenders under its principal United States and European credit facilities have amended the terms of the facilities to extend until June 30 its deadline for filing its Form 10-Q for the first quarter of 2004 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Accordingly, the delay in filing its first quarter financials will not prevent Goodyear from accessing the credit facilities or obtaining letters of credit.
Toyota will increase capacity at its UK plant in Burnaston to 285,000 vehicles by 2005 (220,000 at present). The addition investment will total 50 million pounds. The Japanese car maker has begun a program of increasing capacity in Europe to 645,000 vehicles from 500,000 previously.
Bridgestone Motorsport has its sights set firmly on providing its four teams with the most competitive tyres for the European Grand Prix at the German Nürburgring circuit (28-30 May). With Monaco just a few days beforehand, all testing for the specifications to be used at round seven was done in the weeks beforehand. Located in the Eifel mountain range, the Nürburgring is likely to throw up a few weather surprises and two of the keys to success will be tactical flexibility and having competitive tyres for both dry and wet conditions – something Bridgestone is confident it can supply its teams with. “I expect the European Grand Prix to be a hotly contested race and no doubt there will be plenty of support as we arrive at what is ‘home’ grand prix for two of the Bridgestone drivers: Michael Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld. There is always a fantastic atmosphere at this race and this will help to keep the momentum going on what can be a tiring couple of weeks when you have two races back to back,” said Hiroshi Yasukawa, Bridgestone’s Director of Motorsport.
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced that effective immediately Kevin B. Kramer, 44, has joined the company as president of Alcoa Cast Auto Wheels. He is responsible for the development and growth of Alcoa’s cast auto wheel business worldwide. Alcoa currently produces cast aluminium auto wheels at plants in the U.S., Canada, Venezuela and Italy. Alcoa’s cast auto wheels are found on numerous automobiles and light trucks worldwide. Kramer will be located at the Alcoa Automotive, Aerospace and Commercial Transportation office in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., announced that it reached an agreement to license ExxonMobil Chemical Company, a division of Exxon Mobil Corporation of the United States, technology in connection with the Yokohama Advanced Liner (YAL), a new patented inner liner for automotive tyres. In addition, Yokohama and ExxonMobil Chemical are combining their respective expertise in the field to improve and advance the performance of YAL. The agreement also grants ExxonMobil Chemical rights to commercialize and globally market YAL related materials in the future.
Richard J. Kramer, senior vice president, strategic planning & restructuring for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer effective June 1. Kramer (40) replaces Robert W. Tieken, who will retire on May 31. Tieken (65) has been Goodyear’s CFO since May 1994.
SmarTire Systems Inc. (OTCBB: SMTR) announced that the Company has signed a $15 Million Standby Equity Distribution Agreement with Cornell Capital Partners LP. This financial instrument replaces the $15 Equity Line of Credit arranged by HPC Capital Management in 2003. SmarTire also announces that it has arranged a second $750,000 unsecured, promissory note with Cornell Capital.
Seven days after Monaco, May 28-30 Formula One is poised to return to another of its traditional venues – Germany’s Nürburgring. Michelin is approaching the seventh race of the season in a positive frame of mind: Jarno Trulli (Renault) and Jenson Button (B·A·R-Honda) scored a memorable one-two for the company in Monaco and Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) won at the Nürburgring in 2003, when he led team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya across the line. “We know the Nürburgring well and have achieved some good results here in the past,” says Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin Motorsport Director. “We finalised our tyre options for this race a couple of weeks ago, because there hasn’t been time to test since our tremendous victory in Monaco last Sunday. We will have three dry-weather compounds available and these all come from the softer end of our range, because the Nürburgring isn’t especially abrasive. It is what I would call a ‘balanced’ track. The loads on the front and rear tyres cancel each other out during the course of a lap so the wear rate tends to be very even,” adds Michelin F1 Programme Manager Pascal Vasselon. “It is always vital to have a suitable tyre compound at the Nürburgring, because conditions are very changeable, and I am confident Michelin will provide us with exactly that,” comments Ralf Schumacher with regard to the tyre set-up.
New EU directives on vehicles are likely to add 5,000 Euros (3,340 GBP) to the price of an average car. Speaking at the Birmingham Motor Show, Roger Puttnam chairman of Ford in Britain, warned that manufacturing margins were already thin and that mounting regulatory costs would have to be passed on to the consumers. Puttnam singled out new rules on vehicle recycling, the control of chemicals and safety, all of which are to be implemented by 2008.
Hankook Tire has concluded a 3-year agreement to supply Ford Motor with 140,000 VR-rated (up to 240km/hr) K105s tyres annually. The tyres will be mounted on the Ford Mondeo, a high-quality family car, and will bear the Hankook Tire logo. The export price, to include replacement tyres, will total 22 million euros over three years.
In an ambitious test project, the american consumer magazine “The Aviation Consumer” has undertaken, the magazine bought 11 aircraft tires and subjected them to 200 simulated landings, plus a skid test. “Sometimes the cheapest tire isn’t the best deal. What matters most is tread depth and the more, the better,” the magazine said. In tread depth alone, Goodyear’s “Flight Custom III” was the winner in the June issue.
Since 1st of January 2004 the business field Deflation Warning System DWS (Warnair) belongs to Dunlop-Tech GmbH, a 100% daughter company from SRI. So DWS is not part of the joint venture Goodyear Dunlop.
The eyes of many large companies in the West are turning increasingly eastwards, with Asia and the Pacific Rim being touted as the growth markets of the early 21st century. As such, multinational companies are falling over themselves to invest in manufacturing across a variety of industries.
Or so the received wisdom goes, but this attitude is a trifle simplistic as it implies that the East is waiting for western companies to come to their aid and show them how things are done. Another misconception is that, when people talk about “the East” as a potential industrial powerhouse, most people are talking about China.
And there is little doubt that China has real potential, but it is by no means alone; there is another giant in the East preparing to flex its industrial muscles and that is India. Not only does India have enormous human resources, but it has an established industrial base – companies in India are not reliant on western firms introducing technology and ideas, as they have been manufacturing products for domestic and foreign consumption for many years, in many industries.
This is certainly true for the tyre industry, as India has a number of companies producing products which perform well on the punishing Indian domestic market, with its lack of good roads and overloading as the norm, as well as outside countries with more sophisticated infrastructures. It could be said that, if you can make a tyre that can withstand the rigours of Indian roads, then it will work anywhere.
One of the leading tyre manufacturers in India is Balkrishna Tyres (BKT), based in Mumbai. It is part of the Siyaram Poddar group, which is a conglomerate turning over US$ 250 million a year and, apart from tyres, has interests in textiles, clothes, rubber products and paper.
BKT established a factory at Aurangabad, in western India, in 1988, which had a capacity of 3,000 tonnes per annum and all related facilities, including an in-house R&D department. Four years later, the company developed a range of light commercial vehicle tyres, aimed largely at the export market and, in 1996, the product range was expanded to include industrial and agricultural tyres. Exports began to Europe, the USA and Australasia.
Overseas sales led to an expansion programme in 1999, entailing an investment of US$ 50 million. As sales increased, so did the range of products to include flotation and MPT tyres. In 2002, production capacity was doubled at a stroke when BKT acquired a factory at Bhiwadi; in the same year BKT was awarded ISO 9001:2000 quality accreditation by KPMG, Netherlands.
Last year an expansion programme was successfully undertaken at the Bhiwadi factory and the product range enlarged to include ATV tyres, plus tyres for lawn and garden implements and earthmovers.
As BKT’s reputation has grown, so too has its export business, until today 95 per cent of production is sold outside India, in both replacement and OE markets. The main markets are Western Europe, North America and Australasia, although BKT has distributors across the globe, on all continents except Antarctica. Looking ahead, BKT aims to increase its global presence and has planned what the company calls “an ambitious expansion programme”, costing over US$20 million, which will further increase the product range and production capacity. Exports will form a key part of this strategy, with BKT looking to consolidate and grow its presence in existing successful markets and to move more aggressively into new markets, such as Eastern Europe, Latin/South America and Africa.