As the 2007 drifting season comes to a close, Korean tyre manufacturer, Nexen Tire Corporation, have confirmed that they will enter the 2008 drifting market as a partner to Europe’s leading drift series, Prodrift. Recently, at a sponsorship signing ceremony held at Mondello Park Circuit outside Dublin, General Manager for Nexen Tyre London Bong-Wan Lee and General Manager of Nexen Tyre Europe John Bosco Kim met with members of Prodrift management and the drivers of the 2008 Team Nexen to confirm the details of this exciting 2008 drift programme. “We are pleased to sponsor Team Nexen for the Prodrift 2008 series. As becoming a global motor sport brand, we have no doubt that Prodrift would perform an excellent and exciting drift series in 2008”, said John Bosco Kim, General Manager of Nexen Tyre Europe.
Amtel-Vredestein N.V. has signed an agreement to supply Amtel tyres for Fiat Albea cars produced in Russia. The deal, struck with OJSC Severstal-Avto – the sole distributor for Fiat in Russia, will see the company start OE supply in the first quarter of 2008. Volumes are expected to be up to 10,000 tyres per month. The contract to supply tyres to Severstal-Avto has been in preparation for about two years. The main supplier will be the Amtel-Povolzhye tyre complex in Kirov. Amtel tyres have passed certificate tests at the Balocco testing area, in Italy, and numerous audit tests by Severstal-Avto and Fiat specialists at the company’s plant in Kirov.
Michelin has won its first-ever Corvette original equipment fitment for the 2009 Corvette ZR1. The ZR1, which General Motors describes as the highest-performing production supercar in the company’s history, will be fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 ZP zero-pressure tyres, designed specifically for it.
“The Corvette ZR1 is a historical breakthrough OE fitment for Michelin,” said Tom Chubb, vice-president, Marketing for Michelin Automotive Industry Division. “When given the opportunity from GM, we knew we had to bring our best technology to the table and set a benchmark in the industry for performance. I am happy to say we achieved that goal by delivering the highest level of combined technologies and safety elements – without compromising road manners or performance.”
Lionax, the first Chinese company listed on Euronext, announced today that it had signed a contract with Shanghai Tuofeng Auto Parts Company to jointly supply Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) for buses in Shanghai. Shanghai is the biggest city in China with a population of over 18 million. James Yang, Lionax CEO said: “It is a great honour to be able to supply TPMS for Shanghai, which is the leading city in China for commerce and the automotive industry. We are confident that this LIONAX product will be used in other Chinese cities in the near future.”
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has made Roy V. Armes Chairman of the Board in addition to being President and CEO of the company. Along with that change, the Board dissolved the Office of the Chairman and appointed John Meier as Lead Director for the Board. Since August 2006, the Office of the Chairman has consisted of directors Byron Pond, Art Aronson and John Shuey. Armes was appointed President and CEO on 19 December, 2006.
Goodyear’s Fuel Max fuel-efficiency commercial tyre technology, has earned a “Nifty Fifty Award” for best new products in 2007. US Heavy Duty Trucking magazine selected Fuel Max Technology for its “Nifty Fifty Award”, one of 50 new products selected on its “usefulness to the truck operator in terms of innovation, serviceability and performance.” The technology utilizes innovative treads, along with advanced compounds and manufacturing technologies, to help optimize fuel economy while maintaining a low cost-per-mile for fleets and owner-operators.
On 20 December the Brose Group agreed to buy Continental’s Electric Motor operations. The acquisition is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities. “We decided to sell the former Siemens VDO Electric Motor Drives operations and Continental’s cooling fan business to the Brose Group because Brose’s excellent positioning in the market segment creates exceedingly good prospects for that business,” said Continental’s Executive Board Chairman, Manfred Wennemer. The news follows Continental’s acquisition of Siemens VDO and, according Wennemer.
Apollo Tyres Ltd is close to acquiring a south east Asian tyre maker, according to CNBC reports. Reuters reported that the acquisition is expected to be completed early next year. No details have been given about which firm will be bought or the value of the deal. “We cannot comment on speculation that is not attributed to anyone. We have said we will continously keep looking at opportunities and there is no change in our stance,” Sunam Sarkar, chief of corporate strategy and marketing at Apollo Tyres, told Reuters. In early 2006 Apollo bought Dunlop South Africa for about 2.9 billion rupees.
At the end of this year, the ContiTread cold retreading partnership between Bandag Europe and the Continental AG will come to an end. In a message to Bandag partners in Europe Mike Tirona, Vice President and General Manager Bandag EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), explained that the decision was made jointly and in a friendly atmosphere. The question is who will now produce ContiTread treads? Will they be made in Continental’s factories or in partnership with another manufacturer? The latter certainly appears to be the case. While no details have yet been officially confirmed, Continental representatives told Tyres & Accessories that negotiations with “another international retread supplier” are already at an advanced stage and that these are expected to be completed in early 2008, with the first Conti-Tread strips to be produced outside of Bandag’s Belgian Lanklaar factory to follow in March 2008.
(Tire Review/Akron) Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. announced a price increase of up to 5%, which will vary between product lines for all customers, effective February 1, 2008. The increase will cover passenger and light truck tyres.
Researchers led by Gary W. Krutz, director of Purdue’s Electrohydraulic Center and a professor of agricultural and biological engineering, has developed a tyre system that reportedly senses failures in real time. The concept behind the technology is that the entire tyre acts as a sensor that sends information to on-board computers. The patented technology is available through the Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Commercialization.
“I became interested in this after I had to replace all the tyres on my daughter’s and son-in-law’s car after just 10,000 miles and suspected problems after seeing dozens of truck retreads along interstates,” said Krutz, who earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. “This motivated me to do some research and find a way to improve tyre safety. Our prototypes were tested, and the results showed significant damage can be quickly detected.”
35 Wyko customers were given access to Pirelli technical know-how at an event in Carlisle last month. The inaugural ˜Know-How Makes a Difference Day,” hosted by Pirelli Tyres in Carlisle, was a resounding success and saw over 500 customers visit over the course of the day. The day-long event took place in a large marquee with 35 of WYKO’s key suppliers providing stands to construct a mini-exhibition. Visitors to the event were also able to take part in some light-hearted activities with the chance to test their driving skills in a Subaru Rally Car simulator.
With the year almost at an end, the Rubber Manufacturers Association now predicts that overall tyre shipments in the U.S. will be up “slightly” in 2007 vs. 2006. RMA says total tyre shipments will increase 2.7% vs. 2006, a year that saw the market drop anywhere from 3% to 7%, depending on the source. The increase, says RMA, will come despite a heavy decline in OE tyre shipments and “are a reflection of revised U.S. economic growth forecasts for both the consumer and commercial sectors.”
Specifically, RMA sees the replacement passenger segment growing 3.3% to 203 million tyres; the replacement LT-metric segment growing by 600,000 units to 34.2 million tyres; and the medium truck segment dropping 2.7% to 16.4 million units. On the OE side, P-metric shipments will drop 4.5% to 46 million tyres; LT-metric will fall 12% to 4.4 million tyres; and OE medium truck will drop 31% to 4.7 million tyres. RMA has not yet issued its final 2006 tyre shipment data.
Indian tyre exports swelled to 518,603 units in October, up 40 per cent year-on-year. According to the latest ATMA statistics, year-to-date exports are 22 per cent ahead of where they were this time last year. The truck and bus (TBR), passenger car (PCR) and off-the-road (OTR) segments faired particularly well rising to 203,103 units (up 18%); 90,194 (up 185%); and 4308 units (up 97%) respectively.
Bandag Rwanda has told local media sources that high customs tariffs on tyres are hurting the local tyre trade. According to reports, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania charge only 10 per cent tariffs, compared with Rwanda’s 30 per cent. Gerald Nkusi Mukubu, director for taxpayer services in Rwanda Revenue Authority is quoted as saying tyres are finished goods and therefore will remain under the levy. He said the customs tariffs for finished imported products is 30 per cent, 15 per cent for semi- finished imported products and zero on fertilisers and drugs. Mukubu added that this is in line with East Africa community common external tariffs for imported finished goods, which are 25 per cent.