It’s official: lead balancing weights are no longer allowed to be used on passenger cars or light trucks. Although there is much talk about the possible negative impact of the end-of-life vehicle directive, today tyre businesses across Europe seem to have adapted to the new situation without any major difficulties. However, the new market conditions have also brought consequences for manufacturers and suppliers. As all the parties involved get up to speed, what has to be taken into account when changing from lead balancing weights to alternative materials? Tyres & Accessories examines the effects of this legislation and the steps that need to be taken by companies across the continent.
Federal Tire has expanded its Federal Motorsport line with the introduction of the FZ-101, the first slick tyre in the FZ Combat Series. Exclusively produced in limited numbers for professional use only. Engineers at Federal are reported to have collaborated closely with Japanese racing professionals to deliver a tyre best suited to their needs.
FIA, the world motorsports governing body, has found the seven F1 teams that pulled out of the US Grand Prix guilty on two charges, but has deferred punishment. The compromise is seen as a way of buying time for the international motorsports series to recover. The teams – Renault, McLaren, Williams, Toyota, Sauber, Red Bull and BAR – were found guilty of failing to arrive at Indianapolis with proper tyres and wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to race after Michelin issued a safety warning.
However, the teams were cleared of charges of failing to inform race stewards of their intention not to race, refusing to race subject to a speed limit and combining to put on a spectacle damaging to Formula One. Punishment was deferred until 14 September. The FIA cannot punish Michelin directly.
Goodyear has appointed John Sweeney, former general manager for the company’s chemical division since November 2004, said he seeks to improve OTR operations and financial performance. The business has faced an industry-wide product shortage since last year. “We must refocus on customer and end-user needs. In these challenging times, demand has risen dramatically, and we must take the necessary steps to lessen the impact of this shortage on their operations,” Sweeney said.
By the time you read this article, European directive 2000/53/EC will have come fully into force. This regulation, more commonly known as the end of life vehicle (ELV) directive, will have a profound effect on the tyre trade – banning the sale of lead balancing weights. But is the trade ready? Tyres & Accessories spoke to representatives from weight manufacturers Trax and Remog in order to find out more.
Australia’s Ansell Ltd has slashed the value of its tyre-making joint venture with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co by more than half, citing the impact of an influx of cheaper imports and rising raw material costs. In a move largely factored into analysts’ estimates, Ansell said it plans to write down the carrying value of its investment in South Pacific Tyres, or SPT, by $80 million Australian dollars to about A$58 million.
Bridgestone brand Potenza RE050A tyres will be original equipment on all of Mazda’s new MazdaSpeed6 vehicles. Bridgestone Corporation will supply the tyres to Mazda’s Hofu, Japan manufacturing facility in a 215/45R18XL 93Y size. The Bridgestone Potenza RE050A carries a UTQG rating of 140 for treadwear, A for traction and A for temperature.
John Walton, the second oldest son of Wal-Mart found Sam Walton has died in an aeroplane accident. One of the heirs the Wal-Mart dynasty, Mr Walton’s ultralight aircraft is reported to have got into difficulties shortly after take-off in Jackson, Wyoming. Mr Walton was one of the wealthiest men in the US, with an estimated fortune of $18.2 billion. Wal-Mart is the largest tyre dealer in the world. According to Tyres & Accessories estimates, in the US alone the chain sells more than 15 million tyres, almost exclusively to end consumers.
(Akron/Tire Review) Not only is it a top seller, but Goodyear’s Assurance TripleTred is also an award-winner, taking a Silver IDEA in the 2005 Industrial Design Excellence Awards.
Co-sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and BusinessWeek magazine, the Industrial Design Excellence Awards evaluates designs for innovation, aesthetics, user benefits, business impact and ecological responsibility. Products from Apple, Nike, BMW and Microsoft were awarded IDEAs in the competition, but the Goodyear Assurance was the only tyre honored.
Kwik-Fit will remain in its Edinburgh headquarters despite the fact that it has been bought by European equity firm, PAI partners. Paris-based PAI Partners confirmed to The Times that Kwik-Fit’s management team and the headquarters in Broxburn, West Lothian, would remain in place. London-based PAI partner Hamish Mackenzie, who negotiated the deal, said: “The business remains as it is. You wouldn’t think, with my name and my accent, it would be moving out of Scotland, now would you?” the newspaper reported.
(Akron/Tire Review) JD Power/LMC Automotive Forecasting Services predicts that new vehicles powered by hybrid electric or clean diesel engines will garner 11 per cent of US sales by 2012. Currently, such vehicles hold a 4.8 per cent market share, said the firm.
In the continuing aftermath of the fateful US Grand Prix, F1’s governing body has contested “Michelin’s version of events” of what happened at the race. The association made the comments by taking the unusual step of publishing its correspondence to the manufacturer. An FIA statement said it decided to do so because earlier correspondence had been “deliberately leaked to members of the press.”
In the coming months a whole raft of EU legislation affecting different aspects of the tyre business is set to come in place. First the Hazardous Waste regulation came into force on 16 April. Now the end of life vehicle directive (2000/53/EC) banning the use of lead balancing weights is upon us. Next up is the Waste Incineration Directive (due to be implemented from 28 December), which is sure to have a knock-on effect on the way tyres are disposed of and at what cost. The last regulation in the current run is the second part of the EU tyre landfill ban (1999/31/EC), which prevents chipped tyres from being disposed of at landfill sites in July 2006 – not to mention the working time directive.
Do you think there is too much red tape or do the regulations make life difficult in the tyre business?
To answer and add your own views to the new ‘question of the month’ click here.