Bridgestone has opened what they believe to be the largest truck tyre retail centre in the Australia/New Zealand region. The centre is operated by the company’s retail business, Bridgestone Select, and is located in the Adelaide suburb of Wingfield. The facility covers an area of more than 15,000 square metres and offers seven dedicated B-double work bays.
Manager of the new store, Justin Purdie, reports that the planning process for designing the Wingfield site was very thorough. “Because we can cater for all sizes of trucks up to and including road trains, we put a lot of work into ensuring access to the site is easy for all trucks. All of our bays are totally under cover and offer convenience without the hassle of uncoupling. There is no question that, with this facility, we can now maximise speed of operation and minimise down-time for drivers.”
Bridgestone Select outlets also stock a comprehensive range of products including Bridgestone and Firestone truck tyres and Bandag retreads.
With the new school year upon us many mums are gearing up for the term time school run. But a survey conducted by Bridgestone UK indicates that a disturbing number of women could be putting themselves and their children in danger every time they head out on the road. The survey revealed women to be the worst offenders when it comes to tyre safety, with many not even carrying out basic yet potentially life-saving tyre checks.
More than half of all female respondents (54.1 per cent) have not checked their tyre tread depth in over a month – including 21.5 per cent who have never checked it. More than three quarters of the women surveyed were unsure of the legal safety requirements for tread depth, and 84 per cent did not know that they could face fines of up to £2,500 and lose three points from their licence for each tyre with insufficient tread.
The survey was conducted as part of Bridgestone’s Think Before You Drive campaign, run in association with the RAC Foundation and FIA Foundation. Some worrying statistics highlighted by the study include:
The increases to Continental’s workforce in Romania, announced last November by board member Thomas Sattelberger, appear to be getting underway sooner that first anticipated. The first 500 will most likely be employed within a few months, with another thousand taken on before the end of next year. The German tyremaker operates six facilities within the country, and according to Ildiko Kovacs, Continental Romania’s PR coordinator, the first intake of new recruits will be distributed between the company’s Timisoara, Sibiu, Carei and Arad plants.
Most new workers will be employed in the production sector, although a number of engineers and related specialists are also required. The employment of new staff forms part of the company’s plans to increase capacity across the board. According to 2006 figures from Romania’s finance ministry, Continental has invested in excess of a quarter of a billion euros into its operations in Romania.
In the month following being granted consent to acquire the VDO Automotive division from Siemens, Continental AG has busied itself becoming acquainted with the new workforce and sharing its vision of VDO’s future within the company. According to Conti executive board chairman Manfred Wennemer, his company is interested in ensuring the larger Continental that emerges from the purchase of VDO can fully appreciate what the component manufacturer has to offer, and integrate this into Conti’s existing structure.
Wennemer has travelled to VDO’s production sites, including its headquarters in the Bavarian city of Regensburg, and has used these visits as an opportunity to reassure VDO workers that the company they work for will maintain its own identity. When the integration of VDO is complete Continental’s automotive parts division will be reorganised into three units; security-related parts, powertrain components, and information and entertainment systems. Wennemer indicates that at least one of these divisions will have their headquarters in Regensburg, and no distinction will be made between VDO and Continental employees when making personnel decisions.
“The Continental system will not necessarily win,” Wennemer said. “What will win is the best system and the best man for the job.”
Goodyear Tire & Rubber has announced the appointment of Dipinder “DP” Singh to the position of marketing director for the company’s Asia Pacific region Consumer PBU division. The position will be based at Goodyear’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Shanghai.
The native of Mumbai, India joined Goodyear at the beginning of 2002 as director of Global Marketing Intelligence & Strategy, and has held several management positions since that time. Prior to this Singh co-founded the firm adAlive, a developer of Internet access systems for personal digital assistant devices, and served as the company’s executive vice-president, marketing and business development. In total Singh boasts more than 20 years experience in marketing strategy, brand management, advertising, market research and international marketing.
Vredestein believes there is a need and a good future for cold weather tyres in the UK, and is backing up its confidence in this often ignored market with the release of more winter weather products, including the new Quatrac 3 series, which will be launched at the end of September.
The Quatrac 3 can be visually distinguished by its non-directional asymmetric tread, and Vredestein adds that an examination of the tyre’s summer and winter tread profile sections will also reveal a clear distinction between the two. Upon its initial release the new tyre also offer a world first for all-season tyres – run-flat variants. Vredestein will offer two run-flat sizes when it launches the Quatrac 3.
For discerning motorists the new Quatrac 3 is a very attractive choice. As it is an all-season tyre, there is no necessity for the twice annual change between summer and winter tyres. “The Vredestein Quatrac 3 is a first-rate alternative for countries without extreme driving conditions like snow-covered, icy roads or steep hills,” Bert Stellinga, managing director Vredestein UK and Ireland, explained. “In plain or gently sloping areas and in temperate climates, the Quatrac 3 is the all-season tyre of choice. It offers optimum ride and grip characteristics under all circumstances.”
For smaller companies involved in the tyre business it is sometimes equally important to stick to good old traditions as it is to find a way to develop the business creatively. A company that has obviously succeeded in both over the years is the retreader and tyre dealer “Reifen Wondraschek” from the Austrian city of Linz. While in the past the company was mainly known for its activities in the retreading business, today the company engages in an increasing range of new activities, such as exclusive distribution of the Cooper brand in Austria or – as of this year – the exclusive rights to market the Nexen brand in Austria. And just as Reifen Wondraschek is embarking on new businesses, old ones are being phased out. At the end of last year the company ceased producing retreaded tyres for passenger cars. This step was necessary, although painful at the same time as passenger car tyre retreading was once the core business of Reifen Wondraschek, which was founded in the 1930s as a vulcanising company.
Concept vehicles are a main attraction at International Motor Shows, and Continental is working to ensure the tyres gracing a number of these attention grabbers at the Frankfurt show will inspire the imagination. According to Conti, the tyres on these concept cars are an integral part of the look and feel of a vehicle, therefore the company has a specialist team of designers working on eye-catching designs.
The Continental design team’s task is to give standard tyres a unique look to complement the manufacturers’ concept car. This varies depending on the vehicle’s style and audience. Sports car tyres require aggressive tread patterns that give an impression of speed. These also often feature colour to highlight the tread or the tyre sidewalls. For SUVs, the manufacturer expects prominent tread blocks for maximum off-road traction – the smaller the wheel arch and the broader the tyre, the more prominent the sidewall design. If more space is available for the tyre, focusing upon the tread design is a greater priority.
Hankook plans to boost annual passenger car tyre capacity at its Jianxian facility in China by two million units. When this expansion is completed early next year the plant will have an annual capacity of 18 million tyres. The Korean manufacturer’s current total capacity from its two factories in China is 28 million units.
Carlsson wheels have always had a good reputation in the Mercedes tuning sector and the company’s latest product – the 1/11 Evo Brilliant Edition (BE) looks set to enhance this even further. Based on the successful 1/11 BE wheel, the new 22″ wheel has been developed for use on Mercedes ML, R and G class vehicles.
As well as visual impact, the 1/11 Evo BE offers greater ride comfort and considerable weight saving, says Carlsson. The distribution of the 11 spokes means that the forces acting on the wheel are transferred to the centre of the wheel, thus making thick walls unnecessary and saving weight. Grooves in the spokes save even more weight, with the result that the 1/11 Evo BE weighs 20.3 kg – over 3 kg lighter than comparable, one-piece cast aluminium wheels, with no reduction in strength.
Euro Car Parts, the UK’s largest distributor of parts to independent garages, has appointed Frank Massey FIMI as Director of Sales, Diagnostic Division.
Frank Massey is one of the UK’s leading vehicle diagnostics experts. With over 38 years’ experience and writing regular troubleshooting columns for trade publications, he is renowned in the industry for his unrivalled expertise and knowledge. Many garages have benefited from the wide range of Training DVDs that he has produced.
He holds training seminars and addresses conferences worldwide, including regular lectures for the IMI and Electronics Industry.
A woman in the US state of South Carolina has been awarded $15 million after a federal jury concluded that Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America was responsible for the accident that left her with severe brain damage. After deliberating for 15 hours the jury returned with the decision that the tyre fitted to the motorcycle on which Michigan woman Trish McCloud was riding as pillion in May 2002 contained a defect that caused it to deflate. The motorcycle flipped and crashed, resulting in Ms McCloud striking her head on the footpath with so great a force that her helmet was not sufficient to prevent serious brain injury. The driver of the motorcycle was not seriously injured.
“The jury agreed with us that the tyre was made with a defect that caused it to fail prematurely,” stated one of Ms McCloud’s attorneys, Randy James. “Goodyear Dunlop refused to take responsibility for this tragedy and, instead, tried to blame others for its defective tyre.” Goodyear spokesman Scott Bachman said the company feels for the McCloud family but believes the accident resulted from a combination of the tyre being insufficiently inflated and too much weight being placed upon the motorcycle. He added that Goodyear is reviewing the verdict and is yet to decide its next course of action.
Dunlop India has been granted a favourable ruling in the dispute over an eight acre section of land at its Chennai facility. The company has release a press statement outlining the recent decision made by the court of the sub-divisional magistrate.
“M/S VGN Enterprises, represented by V N Devadoss has forcibly and wrongfully dispossessed the position of Dunlop India Ltd on July 30, 2007. I therefore u/s 145 (4) CrPC order that the possession of the above lands shall be restored to M/S Dunlop India Ltd.”
Mr. Devadoss claims that his company, VGN Enterprises, legitimately purchased the land from Dunlop India’s former owners in 2004.
Barum Tyres has announced the winners of its recent dealer promotion which saw a mixture of high-tech goodies up for grabs as a reward for tyre sales. Dealers were split into three categories to make it a fair competition, giving all dealers, regardless of spending, the chance to win.
Right Cars based in Ayrshire won the Category A prizes, which included a laptop computer, PSP Base Unit, remote control car and iPod Shuffle. Predominantly dealing in car sales, Right Cars fit the Barum brand to their vehicles and has been a customer for over ten years. Workshop manager Andrew Smith, accepted the prizes on behalf of his team of twelve staff members. The prizes were presented by Richard McCormick, Business Development Director for Viking International, exclusive distributors of Barum Tyres.
There are two types of European winter: the winter we know and grumble about, with coats, scarves and the heating cranked up a few notches – and then there’s the mind-shatteringly cold northern winter, an environment so unforgiving that even the careless act of touching a metal surface with an ungloved hand may result in the loss of a few layers of skin. So with two vastly different definitions of winter existing within the one region, it makes sense for a tyre manufacturer to recognise this distinction when developing a winter tyre range. Michelin has done exactly this, and offers different winter products in different markets. In Scandinavia and Russia the tyremaker sells products like the Latitude X-Ice North, a studded, blocky, heavily siped tyre designed to tackle severe Nordic conditions. But such a tyre would obviously be ridiculously excessive for a shopping trip to the high street or commuting on the M25, so for our milder, yet deceptively hazardous winters, Michelin offers a more suitable range.