Belgium’s Punch International NV, the diversified industrial holding company headquartered in Sint-Martens-Latem, announced on June 29 that it has taken over BBS, the German developer and producer of lightweight wheels for premium segment sports and passenger cars. BBS is currently listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges but was declared bankrupt in May 2007, however the company is now expected to make a positive contribution to the Punch group’s net profit as soon as it the acquisition is finalised.
Punch will take over all the bankrupt company’s assets as of 1 August 2007, subject to the transaction’s approval by the antitrust authority. The acquired assets will include those of BBS Kraftfahrzeugtechnik AG and BBS Motorsport & Engineering GmbH, the brand name BBS and the activities of the company’s plants in Schiltach and Herbolzheim, Germany. The transaction also comprises the takeover of all the shares of the American sales subsidiary BBS of America, Inc and the redemption of all lease contracts in progress. BBS has an extensive portfolio of technology patents, which is also included in the takeover. Funds for the acquisition are drawn from a combination of the proceeds of the private placement dated 7 June 2007 and a bank loan. The activities taken over will continue under the name BBS International GmbH and become integrated in the Punch Motive division of the Punch group.
UK based TRAX JH Ltd has won the contract to supply the new Ford Mondeo, Galaxy and S Max with a new adhesive balance weight. Replacing zinc, the weight is made from steel and was reportedly chosen for its superior balance capability (steel is 20 per cent more dense than zinc), lower cost and increased environmental attraction. The small 5g and 10g segments enable the weight to be fitted over a wide range of wheel diameters.
An aftermarket version of this new weight (series 610C) is now available from Trax distributors. The Original Equipment weight (series 611C) is also available at a higher cost with corrosion protection to typically last up to 6 years.
“Increasing awareness of environmental issues has popularised our range of tyre cutters, especially the portable TC-125 machine, with sales far exceeding our expectations,” said TSI/SSG export manager, Arvid Vaaten. The TC-125 will cut steel belted radial tyres with a rim diameter up to 52 inches and this includes radial tractor tyres.
An uncomplicated three handle procedure allows for comfortable operator control of all the cutters functions. The machine incorporates a roller table for easy manoeuvring of tyres and hydraulic positioning arms to hold the tyre in place. Even exceptionally heavy tyres can be lifted onto the machines roller table by a hydraulic lift. The heavy-duty moveable shear blade is sustained by two stationary blades for clean and easy cutting.
(Akron/Tire Review) Hankook Tire America Corp. announced a price increase of up to 7 per cent on its full line of passenger, high performance and light truck tyres. Increases will vary by product line and size and take effect July 16.
Hankook said the increases reflect rising raw materials costs, particularly petroleum products, as well as higher transportation and general operating expenses. The tyremaker also mentioned that changes in China VAT regulations are factors in the increase.
The US arm of Yokohama, Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC), has announced that current director of consumer sales, Dan King, will be promoted to vice president of sales as of July 1. King will take on responsibility for the development and implementation of sales strategy for the company’s consumer sales and the commercial truck divisions.
King, 44, has a tyre industry background dating back to when he was 12 and worked for his family’s tyre business. He joined YTC in 1988 and has served as Director of Marketing and Director of Sales. King graduated from California State University Fullerton with a degree in business and earned his MBA from USC in 1996.
“Dan’s a true success story at Yokohama,” said Jim MacMaster, YTC executive vice president, Business Division. “He climbed the ranks because of his hard work, dedication and creative thinking, and under his leadership, the consumer business division has become more profitable. I believe as vice president of sales, his experience and foresight will continue to bring growth and profit for the company.”
(Akron/Tire Review) Effective July 1, the Chinese government will reduce, and in some cases eliminate, VAT (value-added tax) refund rates given to companies exporting certain goods out of China. More than 2,800 product classifications – including rubber, steel and carbon – will be affected by the reductions, the third change in refund rates since 2005.
China is making these changes to address overwhelming export growth and attempt to manage its trade surplus. Traditionally, export VAT refunds have kept export prices low for tyremakers and tyre- and wheel-component suppliers exporting out of China. According to an Ernst & Young report released June 20, “any change to a VAT refund rate will impact the prices charged on export goods as well as the profitability of exporters.”
India’s Falcon Tyres has signed a technical assistance agreement with Japanese giant Sumitomo Rubber Industries. Chairman of Falcon’s parent Ruia group, P.K. Ruia, has stated that Sumitomo will provide know-how for the production of tyres for two-wheeled vehicles.
According to Mr. Ruia, the agreement will provide assistance for everything from improving production processes through to the introduction of tubleless and other technically advanced tyres. He said although the brand had to date focused upon the OEM segment, the current sluggish growth in OEM demand might force the company to increasingly look at the replacement market.
Falcon Tyres finalised its 2006-07 results at its board meeting on June 28, and have reported an increase in dividend from 25 to 30 per cent for the year. This follows an increase in turnover from £312.9 million £393.9 million. The company’s net profit improved from £4.4 million to £4.8 million.
In the world of high-speed tyres Germany’s Continental has demonstrated it has nothing to be ashamed of following the entry of one of its products, the ContiSportContact Vmax, into the famed Guinness Book of Records as the world’s fastest standard production tyre. Certification experts from TÜV Süd Automotive in Munich recently served as independent technical witnesses to confirm the Conti tyre’s status, a pre-condition for entry in the revered book. First unveiled three years ago, the ContiSportContact Vmax is approved for use at speeds up to 360 km/h (225 mph), and carries a ‘ZR’ rating – the top designation on the speed rating scale, Y, does not accommodate speeds in excess of 300 km/h.
The tyre is based on the ContiSportContact product family and underwent further development to achieve substantially enhanced high-speed characteristics. Top priority in this context was efficient tyre cooling, whilst maintaining good handling and positive characteristics in the wet. “When developing this high-tech tyre, which is approved for road use, we were able to call on experience gained in the design of high-performance tyres for original equipment and for our technology partners in the customising sector” explained Holger Berkmann, tyre developer at Continental. “Adopting Formula One concepts would not help us here, as high-speed tyres approved for road use have to build up grip on wet and dry roads and they are also expected to achieve an appropriate mileage.”
Followers of contemporary Formula One are well aware that motor racing can often seem more like a wheel oiled business than a sport, and the evidence of sponsorship deals and advertising tie-ins are an ever present companion to spectators either at the racetrack or when watching at home. But the sport wasn’t always this mercantile, and in the early days competitive racing was still a pastime within the reach of well to do individuals. There was a time when all one needed to race was a powerful car, a talented mechanic, some spare cash….and the right tyres.
The owners of vintage performance cars can today still enjoy the thrills of this more gentlemanly age of racing through vintage championship events, and on most weekends throughout the summer months the proud owners of some of the last century’s finest machines can be found thundering around the circuit at race meetings, competing in spectables offering a level of excitement often sadly absent in modern racing.
Deldo caught attention recently with the premier of its brand new Wanli run-flat tyre. Deldo representatives told T&A during the Autopromotec that this will be the first Chinese run-flat tyre in the European market. Deldo is also the exclusive distributor of Wanli, Sunny and Fortuna tyres for the European market, and has been since 2002.
Deldo was present with a large booth of approximately 80 square metres. Company representative are reportedly “very happy with the atmosphere and quantity and quality of the visitors.” Besides the large number of Italian customers there were a lot of international people at the show. Deldo has been doing business in Italy for many years. At this moment, Deldo is active with four salesmen in the market and sales are growing step by step.
The company also showed the 26” in Wanli (305/30 R26) tyre. The launch of this product follows increased dialogue between Deldo and South China Tire and the well-known test centre, TUV Germany. According to the company, South China Tire is investing more and more in technology and new developments. Wanli is currently available in more than 200 sizes.
Preparations to ready Kumho Tire’s US$4 million latex processing facility in Vietnam have reached their conclusion and on June 28 the new plant began operations. The facility, located towards the south of the country in Binh Dong province, has an annual capacity of processing 11,000 tons of natural rubber latex, which will be sourced from within the province. Plant output will supply the tyremaker’s $380 million tyre factory now under construction nearby.
When the new tyre factory enters production early in 2008 it will have a capacity of more than 3 million radials per annum, and these tyres will both be sold on the domestic market and exported to North American, European and ASEAN markets.
Michelin Malaysia Sdn Bhd has its eyes on a 500 per cent growth in SUV tyre sales following the introduction of the Latitude range into the country. According to a company statement Michelin is confident of increasing its SUV market share to five per cent by the end of the year, and its aims to completely revamp its SUV tyre portfolio with the Latitude Tour HP and Latitude Sports range.
“We expect Latitude to take the tyre market by storm and have targeted to sell more than 10,000 units in the coming months as our tyres are very competitively priced and offer unrivalled performance,” said general manager Ronald Sutardja. The Latitude tyres are also available in sizes for light commercials. The Latitude Tour HP, meanwhile, is available in 34 sizes between 15 and 21 inches.
Iconic supercar manufacturer Ferrari celebrated its 60th birthday in June 2007 and the tyremaker whose association with the company dates back to Enzo Ferrari’s racing days before the Second World War was on hand to pay tribute to the legendary marque. Pirelli took part in the celebrations held at Ferrari’s home town of Maranello, Italy, awarding a prize to the racing Ferrari judged the most beautiful out of those vehicles participating in the parade around the carmaker’s Fiorano circuit on June 24.
During the festivities Pirelli held a display outlining the close relationship between the two famous Italian brands. The tyremaker began supplying Scuderia Ferrari in the 1930s when Enzo Ferrari’s team was running Alfa Romeos, and when the company began producing its own vehicles after the war Pirelli was again the tyre of choice – on 166 MM Touring Barchetta of 1949 – and remained a Ferrari favourite for the following six decades. The original P Zero was famously designed with Ferrari’s F40 in mind, and today the latest generation of this UHP tyre is fitted as standard to the 599 GTB Fiorano, 612 Scaglietti and the F430.
Illinois based Titan International subsidiary, Titan Wheel Corporation, intends to issue a summer bonus to its employees on Thursday, June 28. Titan Wheel President Ron Schildt said the total bonus payout for the subsidiary, with locations in Quincy, Illinois., and Saltville, Virginia., is over $1.8 million.
“These men and women have helped build Titan into a world-wide leader in off-highway wheels,” said Schildt. “They walk the walk when it comes to making quality products here in America.
(Akron/Tire Review) The Rubber Manufacturers Association recently recognised six Bridgestone Americas facilities for outstanding safety performance.
Mark A. Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding, accepted the honors at the RMA meeting earlier this year. The six plants include Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire facilities in Aiken County, South Caroline, Warren County, Tennessee, and Des Moines, Iowa, as well as Bridgestone Firestone Diversified Products facilities in Kingstree, South Carolina, Prescott, Arkanas, and Noblesville, Indiana.
RMA’s Safety and Health Improvement Program (SHIP) awards, created in 1981, acknowledge enhancements in worker health and safety and reward companies’ dedication to worker health and safety.