Continental AG (Hanover) is fulfilling its commitment to the EU Commission to turn over to competitors parts of Phoenix AG, which it has taken over. Freudenberg & Co. (Weinheim/Germany) is taking over the Phoenix AG’s holding in Vibracoustic, previously a joint venture, thus becoming the sole owner. Freudenberg is also purchasing Phoenix AG’s commercial vehicle air spring OEM/OES business.
According to Akron Beacon Journal The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plans to modernize its Akron power plant with more than 13 million euro of improvements, making it the first major upgrade to the 80-year-old power system in more than a decade.
After procuring more than 75% of the Phoenix capital stock in November, the Continental subsidiary ContiTech AG may in the future exercise a dominating influence over Phoenix AG following the vote of the Phoenix shareholders. At the extraordinary shareholders’ meeting of Phoenix AG on December 28, the shareholders of the Hamburg company approved a corresponding control and profit and loss transfer agreement which had already been concluded between Phoenix and ContiTech on November 16. The agreement will go into effect as soon as it has been entered in the commercial register.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (Findlay/Ohio) has completed the sale of its automotive business, Cooper-Standard Automotive, to an entity formed by The Cypress Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for approximately $1.165 billion in cash, subject to certain post-closing adjustments. As previously announced, $30 million of the purchase price will be held by the buyer until the post-closing working capital adjustments can be finalized.
Accuride Corporation (Evansville/Indiana), North America’s largest manufacturer and supplier of wheels for heavy/medium trucks and trailers, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Transportation Technologies Industries, Inc. (TTI), one of the largest North American manufacturers of truck components for the heavy and medium-duty trucking industry. The common stock of both companies is privately held. Upon completion of the merger, the combined company will offer the trucking industry a onestop component sourcing solution and expects to become one of the predominant suppliers to the heavy/medium commercial vehicle industry.
Michelin Americas Truck Tires (MATT) informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about voluntarily recalling of about 4,000 commercial truck tyres made in Ballymena (Northern Ireland). Size 10.0 R 22.5 of Michelin’s XDE manufactured between May 23 and October 24, 2004, can experience rapid air loss due to an irregularity of the inner liner. Michelin said until now the company has no reports of accidents involving the tyres, the company will replace the tyres free of charge.
Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc. announced that its steel wheel manufacturing operation in Guarulhos, Brazil has received the 2003/2004 supplier award from Agrale, the Brazil-based truck, chassis, tractor, motorcycle and engine manufacturer. The award recognized Hayes Lemmerz as “The Best Supplier” of its commercial truck steel wheels. The recent quality awards received by this plant demonstrate that investment in upgrading the capabilities of the plant are paying off. “I am honored that Agrale has recognized our efforts to be an industry leader,” said Fred Bentley, President of the Company’s International Wheel Group. “The key to successful implementation of quality is having a team that truly practices Operational Excellence. Our team strives to provide our customers with the best products and service possible.”
Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. (President and CEO Yoshio Kataoka) will establish a sales subsidiary in Neuss, Germany on January 1, 2005. The new company, known as Toyo Tire Europe GmbH, is a joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation, set up to serve the entire European market.
Three more Dundee firms have been given a cash injection from the Michelin Development Fund, pushing the total loaned to local businesses beyond £100,000. IRT, MW Plastics and Team Play Learning Dynamics (TPLD) shared a total of £68,000, which will help company development, performance and enhance long-term profitability. Working in association with Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Business Gateway, Dundee City Council’s economic development unit and The Royal Bank of Scotland, Michelin Development aims to effectively contribute to the economic regeneration and long-term prosperity of the different regions where Michelin has sites within the UK. Michelin Development Dundee’s core aims are to encourage skills and entrepreneurship able to support the long term future of the city. There is also a drive to attract inward investment and contribute towards the creation of sustainable, quality employment growth.
Testing, research and consulting firm Smithers Scientific Services Inc. – with headquarters in Akron/Ohio (USA) – has confirmed that it has been awarded a $400,000 contract from the California Energy Commission to conduct a study of tire characteristics as they relate to rolling resistance. The study, funded by the Energy Commission, will involve tire rolling resistance, traction and treadwear testing, and will potentially serve as the basis for a fuel efficiency reporting system and minimum- efficiency standards. “Lower tire rolling resistance can directly lead to better vehicle fuel economy,” said David L. Schwarz, vice president of technical services and sales for Smithers. “However, as with any tire characteristic, there are potential tradeoffs. Thus, the Energy Commission study is not limited to rolling resistance testing. Additional work will be conducted to evaluate other performance attributes.” He pointed out that currently there is “really no information, in terms of tire rolling resistance or fuel economy, available to a consumer purchasing replacement tires.” The study will take about 18 months to complete. The rolling resistance testing will be conducted at Smithers’ indoor tire testing laboratories in Ravenna, Ohio.
German tyre major Continental AG has decided to source as many as 30,000 two-wheeler tyres and tubes per month from Metro Tyres Ltd. (MTL). Continental has also firmed up plans to source as much as 50 per cent of tubes to be manufactured by MTL for cars, tractors and light commercial vehicles, according to Indian media sources. These tyres and tubes would be sold in Germany and Europe under the brand name Continental. Meanwhile, MTL has also entered into talks with Bajaj Automobiles, Hero Honda and Yamaha for catering to the original equipment manufacturing segment.
Employees at Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC’s (BFNT) Warren County facility received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 16th Annual Symposium, Beyond Borders: Reconciling Wildlife Needs & Human Activity. BFNT demonstrates its commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity by achieving habitat certification at its Warren County plant.
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., announced that it established a Yokohama Design Center (YDC) inside the head office building of the Minato-ku, Tokyo-based company. The YDC is intensively equipped with advanced information technologies, workshop functions and audiovisual equipment so that it can contribute to the improvement of passenger-tyre appearance and the reduction of product development lead-time at the company.
An Ultima GTR sports car has broken the production car world record by accelerating to 100 mph and back to a complete standstill in a mere 10.3 seconds; half a second better than the previous record and more than a second faster than the McLaren F1. The car was fitted with Mintex Racing F4 compound friction on both front and rear and was fully street legal. 0-60 mph was achieved in 2.7 seconds and 100 mph in 5.5 seconds, then the car braked to a halt in only 82.2 metres.
Michelin North America is increasing U.S. replacement tyre prices on a variety of product lines.
• Passenger and light truck tyres will increase by up to 5 percent on Michelin brand and up to 6 percent on BFGoodrich, Uniroyal and private and associate brands effective March 1, 2005.
• Commercial truck tyres will increase by up to 6 percent on both Michelin and BFGoodrich brands effective March 1, 2005.
• Earthmover tyres will increase by 5 percent effective Jan. 1, 2005.
• Agricultural tyres will increase by up to 6 percent for radial tyres and up to 12 percent for bias tyres effective Jan. 1, 2005
• General aviation tyres will increase 5 percent worldwide effective April 1, 2005.