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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Amtel-Vredestein NV is in discussions with “a number of companies” regarding the possible sale of its Moscow tyre manufacturing unit, “Moscow Tyre Plant-M”, which is located near the centrE of Moscow. In this event, the Company may relocate the tyre production plant to its Voronezh, Russia facility. “These negotiations may or may not lead to any agreement. A further announcement will be made in due course,” the official statement added.
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.
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.
Marangoni reports that the increase in consumer brand awareness the company experienced in 2007 has “exceeded all expectations,” delivering the Italian tyre brand’s highest UK profile to date. “While this has been a tremendous achievement, there will be no resting on our laurels and in 2008 we will be concentrating greater effort into this area which is a key aspect of our brand strategy,” said Derek Carruthers, Marangoni (Car Tyre Division) Sales & Marketing Director.
The Marangoni campaign was led by the Italian manufacturer’s involvement in Progetto Marangoni, a project to create “the hottest Toyota Yaris ever” in partnership with Redline magazine. According to Marangoni, this not only kept the Marangoni Mythos tyres chosen for the project car in readers’ minds, but also created substantial brand awareness and a strong perception of Marangoni as a high quality high performance product. Throughout the duration of Progetto Marangoni, continuing trade-orientated promotion highlighted the involvement and increasing profile of Marangoni Intelligence Centres and retailers.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company European dealer, Sinton Tyres, has joined forces with an expedition that delivered five 4×4 vehicles to Sierra Leone in the fight against modern-day slavery. The Hull Freedom Trail group drove the quintet of Mitsubishi L200s from Hull to the town’s twin town of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, and delivered them to four aid agencies working in the city with the child victims of human trafficking. The mission celebrated the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the UK, a movement spearheaded by Hull native, William Wilberforce.
UK Cooper dealer Sinton Tyres donated Cooper’s rugged Discoverer STTs, which were fitted to the L200s to help them cross the difficult terrain the expedition faced on its 5,180-mile journey. “The asphalt roads pretty much ran out in Guinea,” explained expedition leader, Jonathan Richards.
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.