Hayes Lemmerz International has announced the promotion of Mark A. Brebberman to the position of vice president and chief financial officer. Brebberman succeeds James A. Yost, who left the company in May. Originally joining Hayes Lemmerz in December 2001 as the North American Wheel Group Business Unit controller, Mr. Brebberman was promoted to corporate controller, operations and corporate controller in April 2004 and July 2007, respectively.
“We are fortunate to have a person of Mark’s capability and experience within Hayes. Mark has a deep knowledge of the corporation and its operating companies,” said Curtis Clawson, president, CEO and chairman of the Board. “I’m confident in the capabilities of Mark and our other finance department leaders to make this a seamless transition.”
According to the RAC Foundation, up to three million UK motorists could be risking tyre problems during this summer season by not checking the age and condition of their tyres. The motoring organisation made this statement on July 31, at the commencement of an eight-week tyre safety campaign urging drivers of low-mileage vehicles to have their tyres inspected.
A survey of 500 motorists, performed by GfK NOP for the RAC Foundation between July 11 and 13, reveals that although nine out of ten drivers understand the link between tyre age and road safety, up to three million – more than the populations of Greater Manchester or the West Midlands – may not. Furthermore, six out of ten (59 per cent) say they are unlikely to check vital tyre age information contained on the sidewall.
Strong overseas performance, particularly in emerging markets, has enabled Goodyear to report record second quarter sales. During the three months to June 30, the tyre major generated US$5.2 billion in sales, a 6.5 per cent improvement on the previous year. Goodyear comments that this stronger result was achieved through improved pricing, a richer product mix and the impact of favourable foreign currency exchange. These factors offset lower volume sales in Europe and North America. Also impacting results, says Goodyear, was the 2007 divestiture of the company’s T&WA tyre mounting business, which had sales of $186 million in last year’s second quarter.
IndianOil, the largest company in India in terms of sales and profit, intends to establish its first styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) facility. This plant, located at Panipat in the north of India and to be built at an investment price of Rs 7.61 billion (£90.55 million), will be 48 per cent owned by IndianOil. The company plans to offer two further investors respective shares of 32 per cent and 20 per cent in the 120,000 tonne per annum emulsion SBR project.
Continental AG has published second quarter financial results reaffirming the company’s 2008 sales projections of 26.4 billion euros, despite the “difficult environment.” Conti’s acquisitions mean group first half sales grew to 13.254 billion in comparison with 8.014 billion in 2007. Company management sought to project the most positive side of the story at a time when the German tyre and automotive supplier is battling to defend itself from an increasingly hostile 11.3 billion euro takeover bid initiated by ball bearing manufacturer, Schaeffler Group; and when tyre manufacturers in general are fighting hard to maintain profitability targets.
While Continental announced strong second quarter passenger and light truck sales, the news was not so cheery in the truck tyre department. Here first half sales fell to 685.4 million euros compared with 706.4 million during the same period in 2007. And what’s worse, second quarter operating income (around 30 million euros) came in 36.5 per cent less than expected, down 45.9 per cent year-on-year. This meant, for the second quarter, the company ran at an operating margin of 4.6 per cent. To put this in perspective the car tyre and ContiTech divisions achieved 13 and 12.3 per cent respectively.
Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire (BFNT) has announced that Robert W. Handlos, currently Vice President Materials Development, will be promoted to the newly established position of Vice President, Product Development, effective August 1, 2008. In his new capacity, each of the product development groups located at BFNT’s Technical Center in Akron, Ohio will report to Handlos. Additionally, the Akron-based security function will continue to report to him, and Handlos will continue to hold responsibility for the product development facilities located at the site, as well as the company’s ATW race tyre manufacturing plant. Handlos will report to Yasutaka Enoki, who, as previously announced, will become Executive Vice President, BFNT, on August 1.
Schaeffler Group has reportedly increased its direct shareholding in Continental AG to 8 per cent, German daily newspaper Die Welt has reported. According to the paper, the company bought an extra 5 per cent (in addition to an existing per cent stake) for a price of between 63.20 euros and 69 euros per share, well below the 70.12 euros per share offer the company pitched to all Conti’s shareholders.
Taiwan’s Kenda, which operates factories and distribution centres in the USA, China and Vietnam in addition to those in the countries homeland go into the winter season looking to promote the company’s Polar Trax (KR19) tyre to the worldwide seasonal market. The company believes that “No matter how many safety features your vehicle has, it’s the tyres that enable you to handle it in the snow and ice.”
To emphasise this point, the manufacturer has placed a graphic of a peaked mountain with a snowflake on the tyre, signalling by way of symbols that the tyre has been designed to attain specifically snow traction performance requirements. The firm also says that the tyre “has been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.”
Omitec, the UK’s leading independent diagnostic and test equipment manufacturer is attending Automechanika in Frankfurt Hall 8 Stand E0.8. Omitec will be talking to OE’s manufacturers about their bespoke automotive solutions including Engineering Development Tools, On Vehicle Electronics, Telematics, Automated Production Assembly & Test Solutions, Service Bay Solutions including Diagnostics and Information, Technical Authoring & Publications, and Vehicle Recycling Information.
2008 has seen Portuguese retreader, Recauchutagem Northena SA, make literally huge investments in new machinery designed to retread a wide range of giant OTR tyres. The company has already installed a new MGT One63 robotic buffer, groover and peeling machine, in order to retread 63-inch tyres. Recently a large autoclave smooth and groove system for 51-inch tyres was added and before the end of the year pre-cured retreading equipment for 57-inch sizes will also be brought in.
“We’ve developed a full new approach for manufacturing cold OTR retreads. Our pre-cured tyres (a few dozen of these) have been running for a year in Portugal and Spain, and a test phase will be complete in September,” Northena representatives explained.
Apollo Tyres is said to be experiencing delays acquiring land and gaining regulatory clearance for the tyre manufacturing facility it is building in Hungary. Because of this, production is now expected to commence later than the originally anticipated June 2009 start date.
“The government regulatory process is still ongoing. What we had expected to get done now has been delayed by about a quarter or so,” Kankana Das told the Reuters news service. Apollo now hopes to acquire the site land by December and begin construction work next March or April. Therefore, it appears that production will begin in June 2010 at the earliest.
Vacu-Lug has appointed Matt Ball, 31, to the position of Business Development Manager for Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Limited. Covering an area from Cheshire through to the Midlands, Wales and the South West, Matt will be responsible for further increasing and developing Vacu-Lug’s penetration within the region’s major fleets.
Ball began his career with a Modern Apprenticeship at alloy wheel and performance tyre manufacturer Rimstock, with whom he later progressed into sales. Thereafter, he spent five years working in light and heavy commercial vehicle sales with Volkswagen and Renault respectively before moving to Ravenstock MSG, a container hire operation, from where he joined Vacu-Lug.
With India’s tyre industry potentially facing a severe shortage of natural rubber, the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA) has repeated its demand for the immediate duty-free importation of 100,000 tonnes of natural rubber.
The industry, which consumes 57 per cent of India’s domestically produced natural rubber, is said to be in the midst of its worst ever raw material availability crisis. The Hindu Business Line quotes ATMA director general Rajiv Budhraja as saying during the final days of July 2008 the availability of sheet rubber to the tyre industry has been ‘woefully inadequate’. Mr. Budhraja added that, as domestic natural rubber prices are even higher than those on the international market, the commodity now accounts for 41 per cent of the tyre industry’s raw material costs.
Internet tyre retailer Delticom has released news that, in spite of the general market slowdown, Europe’s number one e-tailer continues its impressive record of growing revenues. The first six months of fiscal year 2008 have seen the company storm to 121.5 million euros, preliminary figures reveal, showing a proportional increase of 19.1 per cent on last year’s H1. The news displays an impressive Q2 for Delticom, having returned a 9.4 per cent rise in Q1.
Even the chilly early-spring’s assault on the summer tyre market hasn’t been able to dent Delticom’s progress because the May heat in Western Europe and sales in other regions continued to lift figures, thanks to the international nature of Delticom’s e-commerce. In fact, sales in other regions accounted for 65 per cent of H1 revenues, allowing the company headroom in markets where units could not be shifted as quickly.
Purfleet, Essex-based logistics company, FP Young Transport Limited has been experiencing significant savings and greater ease of use following the company’s decision to outsource the management of its fleet’s tyres to ContiNetwork partner TAB Tyres.
Since handing over its tyre administration to TAB, FP Young’s progressive shift to Continental’s rubbers is resulting in longer tyre life, resulting in fewer tyres being fitted and vehicle downtime being reduced. The structured tyre management process based on the five-stage ContiLifeCycle is ensuring that optimum life is obtained from every tyre through specifying the correct tyre from the outset and then re-grooving and re-treading when the time comes.