Kumho’s ECTSA V70A has won a tyre test of road-legal track day tyres. The test, run by German motoring magazine Auto Bild test & tuning, pitted semi-slicks from Michelin, Toyo, Yokohama and Pirelli against each other. Auto Bild testers praised the winning tyre for its excellent lateral and directional stability as well as its dry braking. The magazine awarded Michelin and Toyo joint second place, Yokohama took fourth position, while Pirelli came last. Auto Bild testers also praised the generally high quality of all of the entrants.
Bridgestone Retread Systems is relatively new to the retreading market, having entered the sector in the past year through a joint venture between Bridgestone and Marangoni/Ellerbrock. The idea behind the new company was to was to bring together and direct Bridgestone’s retreading activities in Europe from a central point; hence its location in Brussels. The joint venture with Marangoni Tread and its German subsidiary, Ellerbrock Tyre Retreading Technology, allows the Japanese manufacturer to cast its retreading net even further; and it can now offer its partners the support and assistance to gain the ECE 109 and the ISO 9001-2000 certifications.
A fire at ContiTech’s Dannenberg facility is likely to cost millions of euros, the company reports. The recent blaze, which broke out on the morning of 29 January, completely destroyed one machinery hall and partially damaged another. The fire also spread to a warehouse and a laboratory.
Although the flames were strong enough to require 300 fire fighters, no casualties have been reported and local residents are not said to have been in any danger. The majority of production was also able to resume the same day.
The Dannenberg factory belongs to two divisions of ContiTech Antriebssysteme GmbH and Vibration Control GmbH. The plant produces a range of automotove products including drive and timing belts for industrial purposes.
After 10 years of written notices and attempted negotiations, the Indonesian Supreme Court is about to settle a dispute between Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GTRC) and PT Banteng Pratama Rubber. Goodyear contends that Banteng continues to produce bicycle tyres using the Goodyear trademark even though its agreement with GTRC expired in 1993. Banteng even created its own “Goodyear-Luckystone” brand and uses the American conpany’s winged foot logo on its products and letterhead.
Amtel’s acquisition of Vredestein Banden might result in the Russian brand’s introduction to the North American market, Marc Luyten, Vredestein Banden’s director of marketing and sales, according to a Modern Tire Dealer Report. Mr Luyten’s suggestion follows the news that Amtel will buy Vredestein and is planning initial public offerings on the London and Moscow stock exchanges.
In the US, Goodyear has released two new premium tyres aimed at SUV and light truck drivers. The Wrangler and Fortera both feature one of the company’s latest innovations, SilentArmor technology.
When Goodyear says its tyres use this technology, it basically means that the products include three distinct features. Firstly they use an “armour zone” that is comprised of a layer of DuPont Kevlar, a material five times stronger than steel. In addition, they feature an extra durable sidewall in order to resist punctures and cuts. On top of this the products include a rugged rim guard that helps protect wheels from rim damage. On the comfort side, the Fortera tyre features a layer that is designed to “soak up” road noise and vibration.
Michelin North America Inc lost approximately 320,000 tyres because of fire at a South Carolina distribution centre, according to a Tire Business report. The fire was started on 13 January after a tornado (possibly two) lifted the roof off the facility and slammed it back down again. Residents living within half a mile were evacuated.
Michelin reports that the loss of tyres represents only a fraction of 1 per cent of the manufacturer’s unit sales in North America. Michelin added its financial loss is negligible since TNT carried insurance on the building and property, the US trade magazine added.
Pirelli will continue its UK and Ireland rally involvement, the company announced at January’s Autosport/Aftermarket Show. The manufacturer will sponsor the Kwik-fit Pirelli British Rally Championship and the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Championship, the latter for the second consecutive year. More than 3000 people visited the Pirelli stand during the course of the show. The company has since describe its participation as “a great success,” adding that its Ford Focus WRC simulator was one of the main attractions.
The Indian tyre industry has grown at a rate of 8.3 per cent over the last decade, mainly fuelled by strong growth in the domestic car industry, according to research and markets. A new report from the analysts concludes that although the replacement market has driven the industry, the OE market has also seen robust growth over the last couple of years.
Confirming these findings, Apollo Tyres recently posted third quarter results showing a 7.74 per cent rise in net profits to £2,060,000 for the quarter ended 31 December. In response, Apollo shares were trading at 253.90 rupees, up 1.56 per cent.
The industry is highly capital intensive, requiring around 4 billion rupees to set up a radial plant with a capacity of 1.5 million tyres, and around 1.5 – 2 million to construct a crossply plant of the same capacity, research and markets reports. The Indian industry is dominated by a few main players. MRF, Apollo Tyres, JK Industries and Ceat all enjoy more than 70 per cent of the total market share.
Following the expiry of its voluntary public tender period, BERU AG has begun an additional two week acceptance period for its shareholders. The additional period will run from 28 January to 10 Febraury 2005. During this additional acceptance time, shareholders will still be able to submit their shares in exchange for 67.50 euros per share in cash.
Bridgestone has announced that it build its third factory in Mexico at a cost of $220 million (£117 million). According to Bridgestone, the factory will be the company’s first automated plant overseas from “initial processing of materials to final inspection of the finished tyres.” The plant will feature Bridgestone’s first installation of its BIRD (Bridgestone Innovative and Rational Development) system.
Amtel’s latest 5500 tyres per day production line has gone into operation. The $50 million “Kirov-II” line will produce approximately 2 million tyres per year, raising annual production at the complex to 7 million units.
US tyre shipments increased by 2.5 per cent in 2004, compared with 2004, according to preliminary estimates released by the RMA. The group cited strong increases in the nation’s GDP and Industrial Product Index (IPI) as being behind this growth. The positive general figure contrasts with a 2.8 per cent decline in passenger car OE sales, which fell to 53 million units. Light truck OE also decreased by 600,000 units, or 7.5 per cent, to approximately 7.4 million units in 2004.
The threat of strike action at the Michelin tyre plant in Ballymena has been lifted, the Belfast Telegraph has reported. Workers at the plant voted by a substantial majority not to embark on a course of industrial action. As a result, union negotiators have told management that a pay offer, which had been rejected in November will now be accepted.