German wheel manufacturer BBS AG is pleased again with the success of Scuderia Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. After the constructor’s championship was secured at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the manufacturer was confident that Michael Schumacher could do what no other Formula one driver has done before and become world champion for the fifth consecutive time. Schumacher’s seventh Formula One championship was confirmed with his second place podium position at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari supplier BBS has said that it is proud to have contributed its extremely light and sturdy forged magnesium wheels to all seven world champion titles. The development partnership with Ferrari obviously inspires the Schiltach, Black Forest, engineers as each year they contribute innovative ideas to the success of the Scuderia.
Peugeot has published photos of a two-seater prototype Peugeot 907. The super coupé, which the French car maker has been shown on the Paris Auto Salon; Mondial de l’Automobile 2004 stands on 18 inch Michelin tyres, size 275/40 (front) and 345/35 (rear).
A month after Continental announced that Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann was being recommended to the board, the international automotive supplier has confirmed that Dr Neumann will begin his new role on 1 October. In this position Dr Neumann will head up Continental Automotive Systems. Dr Neumann had previously been head of the electrics and electronics unit of the VW group of brands, where he had group-wide responsibility for electronic modules.
BBS has released its consolidated first-half sales figures, which hold steady at 89.6 million euros. Growth outside Germany has seen the sales increase from the previous year’s figure of 89.4 million euros. However, due to dwindling business inside Germany EBT amounted to a mere 1.9 million euros.
In Germany, business volumes fell 3.4 per cent from 50.2 million euros to 48.5 million euros. Outside Germany, the wheel manufacturer boosted sales by 4.9 per cent from 39.2 million euros to 41.1 million euros. As a result, its share of sales outside Germany rose from 43.8 per cent to 45.9 per cent of its total sales.
Continental Tire North America has announced that its Eco Plus truck tyres are now a published option at all Volvo Truck dealerships nationwide.
“Rising fuel prices have increased the importance of finding ways to lower operating costs and improve the bottom line,” said David Misbrener, CTNA account manager for Volvo Trucks North America. “Continental’s Eco Plus tyre technology provides impressively low rolling resistance for excellent fuel economy and long original mileage. We are very pleased that this premium line of tyres is now also available at Volvo dealerships for fleets trying to find a way to lower their operating costs.”
According to the company tests conducted at its Uvalde proving grounds (SAE fuel consumption test J1264) show that, with Continental HSL Eco Plus tyres in the steer position and the HDL Eco Plus tyres on the drive axle, fuel mileage is increased by up to 7.2 per cent over conventional tyres
Although it is less than a month since the organisation came into existence, the Tyre Recovery Association has announced that it has attracted two more collection companies. The firms that have successfully applied for membership are Castcrete Ltd of Three Bridges, West Sussex and Tyre Collection Services Ltd of Wednesbury. The news takes the organisation’s member total to an all-time high of 21.
Alcatel and Pirelli announced today that they have completed the transaction regarding their respective submarine telecommunication businesses, after having received approval of Italian Antitrust Authorities.
The local membership of the USWA at three US and one Canadian BFGoodrich plant have agreed new labour agreements with Michelin North America. According to Michelin, the new agreements are expected, over time, to yield a 20 per cent annual reduction in the $300 million (£166 million) yearly labour cost at the four union facilities.
After weeks of negotiations, it seems that the Michelin/United Steelworkers of America (USWA) saga could be drawing to a close. The local unions voted overwhelmingly in favour of agreeing to the deal. Of the 3400 USWA members at the three US plants, 70 per cent voted to ratify the agreement. 94 per cent of Canadian members voted to agree to a similar deal at the company’s Kitchener, Ontario plant. Both agreements expire on 22 July 2006.
The USWA sees the agreement as a victory for its members. According to the newly ratified deal, during the course of the agreement Michelin has agreed that there will be not job losses and that it will not close any of the plants. The union also believes the deal will safeguard member’s future job security as it includes an agreement to set minimum capital expenditure to $150 million (£83 million). This is designed to reposition all four plants so that they can increase their production of higher margin, larger sized, branded tyres.
“Although negotiations were long and difficult,” said John Sellers, USWA executive vice president and head of the union’s Rubber-Plastics Industry Conference (R-PIC), “our membership’s patience and determination paid off with a new agreement that preserves jobs and ensures a future for all four plants, which were endangered by foreign imports and lack of investment.
“At the same time,” Sellers said, “we also maintained our members’ living standards and preserved affordable health care for more than 9,000 retirees and surviving spouses.”
Michelin, on the other hand, sees the deal as a challenge for its North American workers. “We know it’s possible for plants to be profitable in North America,” said Jim Micali, chairman and president of Michelin North America. “We’ve been doing it successfully for many years at our Michelin-brand facilities. Now, these four facilities have the chance to step up and prove that they can become competitive with the rest of our North American operations.”
What the USWA didn’t mention was that US workers will be expected to contribute “significantly more” towards healthcare costs, and that Canadian workers will “assume responsibility” for the provincial health insurance premiums. Canadian workers will have to contribute an additional 18 cents per hour towards offsetting healthcare costs. In addition, healthcare premiums for retired US workers will increase, beginning in July 2005 and continuing until December 2006. New employees will also feel the consequences of the deal and will come under a new five-year wage progression programme which will “substantially reduce hourly pay.”
An updated ‘Retread Tire Buyer’s Guide is now available from the Tire Retread Information Bureau/TRIB, both on the TRIB web site and in a printed version.
The updated guide contains hundreds of names of retreaders throughout North America and many other countries. The document includes complete addresses and telephone numbers, along with the types of retreading available.
In the 2003 financial year the Vredestein group has generated a turnover of 305.6 million euros (£205 million) of which roughly 200 million euros (£134.3 million) stems from new tyre business, the company has said. With this turnover the Dutch tyre manufacturer achieved an EBIT of 18.6 million euros (£12.5 million) and net earnings of 9.1 million euros. Talking to Tyres & Accessories, Vredestein’s managing director Rob Oudshoorn, who is responsible for the tyre business of the group, said that the company would be as successful as its competitors this year. Mr Oudshoorn could not and would not give detailed business results.