Mazda’s motor racing support operation in North America, Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development, has announced Yokohama Tire as a new partner for the B-K Motorsports Lola B07/46-Mazda MZR-R LMP2 team as of 2008. The multi-year partnership is, according to Mazdaspeed, more than just a sponsorship arrangement, with Yokohama acting as a key contributor to the team’s overall programme in terms of technical and marketing collaboration. The announcement of Yokohama’s partnership was made simultaneously to a similar agreement with BP.
The government in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu may assume control of the MRF Ltd tyre manufacturing plant in Tiruvottiyur, near Chennai, if the company does not promptly re-open it. The facility has been closed since last December, following industrial disputes in which MRF accused its employees of “indiscipline and being unable to meet productivity norms.”
“The MRF management should find a solution to the labour problem in its units within a week’s time,” electricity minister Arcot N. Veerasamy told the Tamil Nadu state legislative assembly on January 30. He said that the Tamil Nadu chief minister, M. Karunanidhi, would intervene to find an amicable solution, adding that “if no solution was found even then, the government would take over the unit.”
Bridgestone has boosted its retail presence in New Zealand through the acquisition of the 19 outlets operated by Tony’s Tyre Service, the country’s independent tyre retailer. The chain, founded in 1982 by businessman and former retreader Steve Lange, and its 150 plus employees, will come under the control of the tyre major on March 31.
“I think it’s the right time,” commented Lange to the Manawatu Standard. “The company’s achieved some pretty spectacular results and it’s got a fantastic reputation in the industry. We want to take that to the next level.” Mr Lange will continue in his role as chief executive and the retail outlets look likely to retain their distinctive brand identity. “Nothing changes,” he added. “We are still the operators and a totally independent entity. I’ve been pretty careful to ensure that my people would not be changed. The consumer will not notice any difference.” The financial details of the acquisition remain undisclosed due to a confidentiality agreement, however Mr. Lange indicated the offer was very attractive.
In ceremonies yesterday, Kumho Tire Co. formally signed an agreement to build a US$225 million tyre manufacturing facility on a 127-acre site in Sofkee Industrial Park in Macon, Georgia. Attending the signing ceremony were Sae Chul Oh, Kumho’s CEO and president; Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue; Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Macon Mayor Robert Reichert; and Charlie Bishop, chairman of the Bibb County Board of Commissioners.
The first phase of the greenfield plant, said Kumho, will cost $165 million with an annual production capacity of 2.1 million passenger and light truck/SUV tyres, destined for both OE and replacement markets in North America. The second phase will cost $60 million and will raise annual capacity to 3.1 million tyres. The 5.5 million-square-foot plant will feature Kumho’s automated APU manufacturing system, and will eventually employ 450 people.
Leading European online tyre retailer, Germany’s Delticom AG, has delivered news of greatly increased 2007 financial year revenues. According to preliminary consolidated IFRS figures, year on year revenues have jumped by about 24 per cent, from 173 million euros in 2006 to 214 million euros last year. This figure is at the upper end of Delticom’s forecast (210 – 215 million euros). At the same time, EBIT of between 12.0 million and 12.5 million euros is anticipated for 2007, up from 10.2 million the previous year.
From this total revenue figure, eCommerce revenues totalled 194 million euros, an increase of 25 per cent. Revenues in Delticom’s wholesale division were up year-on-year from 18 million to 20 million euros. Delticom attributes what it views as strong growth in 2007 to the ongoing positive growth in business at its online shops, of which the company now has a total of more than 86 in 30 countries. More than 600,000 new customers were acquired in 2007, raising the total number of customers to more than 1.8 million. There has also been constant growth in the number of partner workshops: right now customers can have their tyres fitted in more than 20,000 workshops worldwide.
Under the banner of “Educating the consumer,” the second annual Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) annual forum, which took place at the end of January covered topics including “Balancing Capacity with Demand,” “Recycling Comes at a Cost,” and “The production and use of tyre derived materials,” but once again the most headline-grabbing news was on the subject of retail fly-tipping.
Large tyre retail operations are paying for the disposal of 10-15 per cent more tyres than they sell, according to the latest information. Group Tyre commercial operations director, Karl Naylor, detailed some of the findings of the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF) fly-tipping panel he has recently been working with. 12 months after Kwik-Fit spoke of how tyres dumped on its premises cost £250,000 it appears that the problems costs the wider retail industry approximately £2 million each year. And what's more, the problem appears to be a growing concern.
Amtel-Vredestein N.V., Russia’s largest passenger car tyre manufacturer, has announced that Mr. Rafael Nagapetiants (managing director and head of the Corporate Finance Department at Alfa-Bank) has been appointed chairman of the company’s Supervisory Board. Director Hendrik W. ten Bosch has been elected as vice-chairman. Maxim Ignatiev, who served as acting-chairman of Supervisory Board, will continue as a director and member of the Remuneration and Appointment Committee.
Groupe Michelin will be the OE tyre supplier for Toyota Camry saloons produced at Toyota’s new plant near St. Petersburg, Russia. Michelin did not disclose where those tyres will be made, but it is expected the OE tyres will be produced at Michelin’s joint venture plant near Moscow. (Tire Review/Akron)
Advanced ID Corporation has announced the launch of two new innovations, one of which is being spearheaded by the company it acquired last year, UK based Pneu-Logic. On January 30 the company stated that it, together with Patch Rubber Company, has launched the industry’s first “guaranteed life of tyre” program. The tyre identification solution, which uses Advanced ID’s UHF RFID Tire Tag and Patch Rubber’s rubber patch technology, will have its public debut at the Truck Maintenance Council 2008 Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in Florida between February 4 and 7.
“Advanced ID and Myers’ Patch Rubber Company are pleased to introduce the world’s first retro-fit UHF tag solution that will remain on the tyre throughout the tyre’s casing life,” said Dan Finch, president and CEO of Advanced ID. “With the recent introduction of Advanced ID’s low cost PR500 UHF tag readers, we are confident that this necessary and affordable solution will take tyre tracking and management to a new level.”
Hankook has confirmed reports it has reached an agreement with Volkswagen for the delivery of 70,000 tyres per year as original equipment on the latest model VW Tiguan. Effective immediately, the compact Volkswagen SUV will leave the assembly line equipped with, amongst others, Hankook’s Dynapro HP tyre in size 215/65 R 16 H. The Hankook Dynapro HP is a high performance tyre intended predominantly, but not exclusively, for on-road use and was specifically designed for the ever more popular class of smaller yet powerful SUV vehicles such as the Tiguan.
The Hankook Dynapro HP – some sizes of which are produced at the company’s recently opened facility in Hungary – features a symmetric 5-rib pattern designed to provide excellent directional stability even at high speeds. The tie bars lying between the tread elements allow for enhanced lateral stiffness while improving dry braking performance. Hankook adds that they also, in combination with the tyre’s relatively tight block arrangement, offer greater circumferential stiffness and a reduced rate of wear.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has promoted Kathy Morgan to director of compensation and special projects. With Cooper since 1985, Morgan has worked in a number of accounting positions, including general accountant, plant cost accountant, managerial accountant, senior cost analyst and as manager of cost accounting. (Tire Review/Akron)
Sameer Africa recently raised its tyre prices by between four and six per cent, the Nairobi Nation reports. However, price increases are unlikely to help sales of the manufacturer’s Yana brand. Local news reports that stiff competition from cheap imports, especially from the Korea, Egypt and South Africa have left the company at a disadvantage, following the price increase. “Kenya has no competitive advantage, and you can get any tyre you want from China at any price,” managing director Eric Kimani told journalists.
The influx of imported tyres from these destinations reportedly increased significantly in 2005, following the introduction of the East African Community’s (EAC) Common External Tariff (CET). Under the CET, the EAC member states (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) agreed to a common tax rate of 10 per cent on imports of new rubber tyres for buses and lorries. Initially, the import duty on tyres stood at between 25 and 35 per cent as a way of protecting local manufacturers.
Continental’s CSEasy is apparently causing a stir in the materials handling world. A panel of experts from the Fork Lift Truck Association have put forward the clever technology for its prestigious innovation award. The CSEasy, launched little over a year ago is the first tyre of its kind to be fitted with a torque wrench and no need for a mounting press.
Jill Rodgers, marketing manager for industrial tyres at Continental commented: “With an adapter between the tyre and rim, the CSEasy eliminates any mounting press, accessory components and rim pool previously required. It also dramatically reduces costly vehicle downtime that has previously come when changing an industrial tyre. It is a market leading product that we are very proud of. We are really looking forward to the awards evening and seeing how we compete with the best innovations from across the industry.”
Further to the January 30 announcement that Yokohama Rubber has signed an OTR tyre supply agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation, the mining giant disclosed it has provided Yokohama with financial assistance to upgrade its facilities in preparation for supply.
The 5 billion yen (£23.57 million) expansion includes a new building, production line, and related equipment, and according to a statement released by Barrick these additions will be primarily funded by a US$35 million loan made available by the company. Start up, Barrick adds, is scheduled for late in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Following on from a series of one-year agreements forged during recent years, Vellco Limited has announced a two-year total waste management agreement with National Tyres & Autocare. As part of the new deal a number of recently agreed upon program initiatives will be launched. These cover a wide variety of automotive waste streams.
The new arrangements take immediate effect and will reportedly provide significant operational savings for National Tyres & Autocare over the next two years. In addition to conventional waste stream management, Vellco has undertaken to provide National Tyres & Autocare with an innovative environmental analysis, which will enable the fast fit chain to track its carbon footprint and to strive to become carbon neutral within a defined target period.