German automotive supplier Beru reports that, as a result of what it refers to as the current “difficult” situation in the motor industry, the company now assumes it will achieve operating profit (EBIT) of between 44 million and 47 million euros in full-year 2007. This represents a slight downward correction of the company’s most recently published earnings guidance. The reduction is attributed to the ongoing decrease in unit sales in the high-margin aftermarket business. Furthermore, in response to demands from vehicle manufacturers, Beru has been forced to grant price reductions it says exceed the effects of its own internal cost-cutting activities.
Beru’s executive board maintains its goal of increasing sales revenues by a low single-digit percentage this year.
Further inroads into the retail market are on the cards for North-Eastern Tyre and Exhausts (NETE), and the Middlesbrough based business plans to use growth in this sector as the base for increasing turnover by 50 per cent over the next two years.
The company, founded by Fred and Netta Darcy in 1971 and still family owned, will reportedly recruit about 300 new staff to facilitate this expansion, with many taking up positions in new or upgraded NETE retail outlets throughout the North-East and Yorkshire regions. The past couple of years have seen numerous improvements made to the firm’s existing outlets, including the addition of café facilities. The ninth NETE retail site, a £1.5 million development in Harrogate/Knaresborough, is due to open in January 2008.
NETE brought in revenues of £33m last year, and this figure is anticipated to rise to £40m during 2007 thanks largely to the company’s enhanced retail presence. Recently appointed managing director Gavin Marshall believes now is a “very exciting” time for NETE and sees great potential to gain further ground against the competition through further retail investment.
Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc. increase prices on Titan and Goodyear branded farm and construction tyres, from 1 November 2007. The increase of up to five per cent is being put down to rising raw material and energy costs. Titan warned that the price rise may exceed five per cent on some product lines.
Hang your heads in shame, men of Britain, your counterparts on the other side of the Irish Sea are much more tyre savvy – and chivalrous – than you! This blow to the nation’s collective self-esteem comes courtesy of a survey conducted by Continental, which reveals that, perhaps, tyres may not always bring out what’s best in us.
Men in the UK are much more likely to leave changing a tyre to a woman driver than men in Ireland, says Conti. Nearly half of us would be perfectly happy to sit back while she throws some muscle behind hoisting the car’s jack into position, where only three out of ten gents from the Emerald Isle would do the same. And a third of British men confessed to using any excuse to weasel their way out of the task, compared with just one in seven Irish men.
And, to further rub salt into the wound, we’re not just un-gallant when it comes to tyres – when the rubber hits the road we’re also much more afraid of dealing with the rubber that hits the road. Almost all men surveyed in Ireland – 94 per cent of them – claimed to have changed a tyre at some time, compared with just over half of men in Britain. Conti reports that the most commonly used reason for not changing a car tyre was that it might ruin one’s clothes. This excuse was used by a whopping 47 per cent of UK based respondents.
ECI International has directed kudos in the direction of Apollo Tyres for its stand at the recent Tyrexpo Asia 2007, awarding the Indian tyre major its ‘Gold Award’ for ‘Most Innovative Stand Design.’
The company’s spectacular stand at the Singapore exhibition was constructed in a fresh looking glass and steel style and showcased the company’s product range spanning the three brands of Apollo, Dunlop and Regal. High-speed passenger radial and 4×4 range, commercial super singles, radials and cross-ply and pre-cured tread rubber panels were prominently displayed.
Those in Europe wishing to see Apollo Tyres displaying its wares first hand will have the opportunity to do so next year, as the company has confirmed its participation in the 2008 Reifen Essen show.
Hankook’s winter tyres have impressed the German automobile press. The Icebear W440, for example, has received good results in “auto motor und sport” (Issue 21/2007; tested size: 205/55 R 16 H) winter tyre test. The Hankook winter tyre impressed with a low noise level prompting the “auto motor und sport” testers to give the Icebear W440 their recommendation: “…The Hankook Icebear W440 is proof that you do not always have to opt for the expensive premium tyre. The tyre’s balanced performance and attributes position the Icebear W440 right in the premium tyre segment…”.
The Icebear W440 has also received a recommendation in the big winter tyre comparison test conducted by the automobile clubs ADAC (Germany), OEAMTC (Austria) and TCS (Switzerland). The Hankook winter tyre was tested in the popular dimension 205/55 R 16 H on a front-wheel drive Opel Astra. As a result the testers gave a “recommendable” verdict. The W440 is available in the speed indexes Q (-160 km/h) to H (-210 km/h) in the dimensions 135/80 R 13 to 205/55 R 16, partially with Extra-Load specifications. Naturally the Hankook Icebear W440 bears, if you can excuse the pun, both M+S- and snowflake-markings.
In the US China Manufacturers Alliance, LLC (CMA) has announced that its parent company, Shanghai Tyre and Rubber (Group) Co., Ltd (STRC) has changed its corporate holding company’s name to Double Coin Holdings, Ltd., to consolidate corporate identity behind the company’s most recognisable and valuable asset, the Double Coin brand. Double Coin Holdings, Ltd is the holding corporation for several tyre related business units including CMA.
China Manufacturers Alliance, LLC will continue to operate under the same name for the foreseeable future, as they have developed strategic customers to whom they provide products that are outside Double Coin Holdings product line up. CMA has built recognition since 1997 for providing a seamless link between strategic manufacturing in China and North America.
Company officials said: “Double Coin branded products will continue to be the marketing focus for CMA. They reflect our flagship brand and have global recognition.” The Double Coin brand of products is sold in over 90 countries worldwide and has been accepted as an OEM product in both North America and China.
During the past year Continental has sold 19.1 million winter tyres worldwide, about 1.5 million more than in 2005. This season the German manufacturer is promoting its ContiWinterContact TS 810 and ContiWinterContact TS 810 Sport models for mid-size and luxury classes of cars, as well as for sports vehicles. And smaller vehicles can get off to a safe start in the cold season with the ContiWinterContact TS 800.
The ContiWinterContact TS 810 Sport is designed for highly tuned cars with powerful engines. Thanks to an extremely asymmetrical tread concept, it offers what Conti believes to be the very best driving performance under all wintry road conditions, outstanding handling characteristics on dry and wet roads, and a wide margin of safety on snow-covered roads. Approved for speeds of up to 270 km/h, it is available in some sizes as an SSR model with extended mobility features.
The ContiWinterContact TS 810 combines superb properties on winter roads with comfortable design. The tyre’s developers place a strong emphasis on short braking distances and high traction – even on snow-covered roads – as well as good aquaplaning resistance and minimum road noise. Another plus this technically sophisticated tyre has to offer is increased mileage performance.
The new Michelin Primacy Alpin tyre has been awarded the highest distinction – a “highly recommendable” rating – in a test conducted by Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club (ADAC), the German Automobile Association and Europe’s largest automobile club.
Carried out by ADAC and its Austrian and Swiss counterparts – Österreichischer Automobil-, Motorrad- und Touring Club (ÖAMTC) and Touring Club Suisse (TCS) – the comparative test involved 16 brands of 205/55 R16 H winter tyres.
The tyres were tested for their grip on snow and ice covered roads as well as on low temperature wet and dry surfaces. Tyre life was also measured, and in this category the Michelin Primacy Alpin received the highest overall score, ahead of all its competitors.
The Michelin Primacy Alpin responds to the dual challenge of optimising safety and longevity. During the design phase, Michelin research and development teams focused on meeting three performance objectives.
Following a roadshow in the US hosted by financial analysts at Deutsche Bank, further details of the previously reported Michelin corporate restructuring programme have been released. The company is said to be aiming for a 30 per cent productivity increase by 2010 (10 per cent from production increase/ 20 per cent from workforce consolidation).
In addition Michelin is said to be looking to produce a better equilibrium of production/sales by continent. This is likely to have a significant effect on the European business as Europe represents 70 per cent of the group’s production compared with only 50 per cent of sales. Plant size is also likely to be rationalised, with the ideal size being described as 8 to 10 m passenger tyres and 2 million truck tyres per annum – basically double the current size of some plants.
Deutsche Bank reports that Michelin’s management still believes in a potential shortage of truck tyres in 2008.
CITExpo 2007 attracted an increased number of international visitors, according to show organisers Reliable International Exhibition Services Co. Ltd. Their figures show that exhibition traffic totalled 6850 visitors, of which 4000 were domestic Chinese delegates, while 2850 were “foreign.” The were 254 exhibitors, 150 of which have reportedly already rebooked for next year, meaning that up 70 per cent of show space has already been rebooked, according to Reliable. The organisers report that international visitors came from a total of 86 countries including: United States, India, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Belgium, Argentina, Norway and more.
PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk is considering raising some funds through a rights issue next year. According to a senior executive said, quoted by the Reuters news agency, Indonesia’s Gajah Tunggal wants to reduce its debt-to-equity ratio to 1.0, from 1.6. According to director Catharina Widjaja the rights issue is not expected to be too large. “We are reviewing an option for a rights issue, possibly next year. The funds would be used to lower our debt ratio. For any corporate actions and capital expenditure, we still have the money from our latest bond issue,” Widjaja told reporters.
Pirelli Tire North America has been recognized as a finalist in a series of awards for its investment in Rome, Georgia. The Governor of Georgia and the World Trade Center Atlanta have continued the historic Georgia tradition of the Governor’s International Awards honouring companies, educational programmes and individuals who have promoted and developed international business in the state. The implementation of the company’s Modular Integrated Robotized System is said to have been particularly influential in the decision making process. In selecting candidates the committee considers unique aspects of the investment, the foundation the investment provides for future business and the impact of the investment on the community.
Newry-based Ross Thompson Ltd, a long established haulier in Northern Ireland, is currently monitoring the performance of the Michelin 385/65 R22.5 XTE2 tyres on the rear axle of one of its Crossland tanker trailers. Fitted as original equipment in early 2006, the tyres have already clocked up 175,000 km and still have 3-4mm of tread remaining. Over 90 per cent of the company’s fleet is fitted with Michelin tyres as original equipment.
BFGoodrich tyres will be celebrating its motorsport success with a pan-European roadshow that is to visit London in November. This giant 1,600 square metre interactive display will feature BFGoodrich tyres and the rally vehicles that have delivered victories in the World Rally Championship, the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and the famous Dakar rally.
The BFGoodrich Victory Tour roadshow will be located at the Lakeside shopping complex, just to the east of London adjacent to the Dartford Crossing, offering easy access for motorsport enthusiasts from across the southern half of the UK. Good motorway links also mean that rally fans have a straightforward journey from further-afield.