According to Marco Tronchetti Provera, the car market has yet to reach rock bottom. The Pirelli chairman was quoted by Reuters has saying that consumers would most likely wait several months to see if government measures to revive slowing economies proved successful before they considered making a larger purchases, such as a new car.
Reuters reports that South Korean tyre manufacturers began to cut output during November. The news source says that its information has come from the country’s top companies in the field, such as Hankook.
On 25 November, shares in the country’s automotive industry players took a nosedaive, with Kia down 12.07 per cent – falling for the second session in a row – and Hankook down 9.26 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has granted Dunlop Zimbabwe the licence required for companies in the country to sell products using foreign currencies, according to the Chronicle newspaper.
The paper quotes the firm’s Southern regional manager Dumisani Ndlovu, who stated, “the inspection was done by the RBZ on 25 November to check whether the ultra violet money detection machine was in place, the invoicing, security, computer network and warehousing. The team was satisfied and Dunlop was given permission to sell in forex.” He concluded that the licence would allow the manufacturer to import more raw materials, which would make an increase in production capacity possible, “thereby improving the company’s viability and safeguarding the company’s employment base. In addition, the more we sell in forex, the more forex that is made available to the RBZ to finance crucial national programmes in the country,” he stated.
Workers at Goodyear Dunlop’s six plants in Germany will return from their Christmas holidays two weeks later than normal following the decision to extend the winter holidays at all the sites. Production will end on 19 December, with workers returning on 5 January, 2009.
The spokesperson for Goodyear Dunlop in Hanau, Gabriele Velte stated, “The crunch is hard on all of us – also at the Fulda factory.” Citing this example, Goodyear Dunlop’s Fulda plant, which produces the Fulda brand as well as other brands, employs 1,400 workers. In previous years, the facility has worked throughout the Christmas and New Year period – the usual holidays excepted. “This has never happened before, as long as I can remember,” continued Velte.
The Dubai based Juma Al Majid Group has celebrated 50 years of business with Yokohama tyre. The group, dealers for the Japanese brand in the United Arab Emirates, marked this milestone on November 27.
“There are different kinds of companies,” commented Juma Al Majid, founder and chairman of the group. “One type looks for its own benefit, but when there is a company that looks out for both sides, it can maintain the relationship for 50 years and more.”
On November 28 Bridgestone Corporation announced that its board of directors has approved a number of proposed changes in corporate officers. Mikio, Masunaga, currently vice president and senior officer responsible for procurement and internal manufacturing management in the Internal Manufacturing Management section and concurrently assistant to the vice president and officer, Motorsport is now focusing on the first of these duties exclusively.
During 2000 and early 2001 the BLIC (Bureau de Liaison des Industries du Caoutchouc), predecessor to the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association, conducted a full Life Cycle Assessment study (LCA) of a representative European 195/65 R15 passenger car tyre, using both carbon black and silica based versions of the H rated summer tyre in the study. Bridgestone, as a member of the Technical Working Group, played an active role in the study.
While, at 84 per cent, the ‘use’ phase of a tyre’s life cycle was identified by the LCA as making the largest contribution to the environmental load of a car tyre, the impact of raw materials, which accounts for 10 per cent, is the second largest factor. Keeping this in mind, Bridgestone Europe comments in its latest Environmental Commitment and Performance report, published November 2008, that the choice of ingredients used is very important, including the promotion of an environmental oriented supply chain.
Bekaert is said to be gearing up to build a second steel cord manufacturing facility in Slovakia. The plant will most likely be located in the vicinity of the existing facility, in the industrial zone outside Sladkovicovo, in the country’s southwest. According to reports, the 15 million euro project will get underway in 2009.
The Philippine government’s Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) has raided a warehouse on the northern island of Luzon, seizing some 10 million peso (£133,500) of counterfeit tyres and motorcycle spare parts. According to a PASG statement, the agencies raided the warehouse after receiving surveillance reports indicating the illegal nature of the activities within. The tyres confiscated from the warehouse are said to have been counterfeit Dunlop tyres.
Across many industries, including our own, 2008 will be long remembered for its spate of raw material price increases and their knock-on effect. Although these prices had by mid-November retreated from their earlier record highs, across the board they left eroded profits in their wake – and consumers smarting from the increases tyre manufacturers in turn slapped upon their products.
We’re all familiar with the ‘move or improve’ dilemma – where homeowners weigh up the cost benefits of moving home versus making home improvements. But new research from Kwik-Fit shows that, with money tight and new car sales down, more motorists are facing a similar conundrum in deciding whether to ‘trade or upgrade’ their car. The company’s research found that some 6.4 million motorists aim to make a number of upgrades to their existing vehicle over the next 12 months, in order to make it look and feel more like new.
On May 24, 2008 tyre industry steel cord producer Bekaert and China’s Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corporation (Ansteel), one of the world’s leading steel producers, signed a memorandum of understanding outlining the terms of a close future partnership between the two companies. As part of the arrangement both firms agreed to explore strategic cooperation projects in order to better address the growing demand for advanced wire products on the Chinese market.
In Canada, Michelin says it is placing an emphasis on employing Nova Scotians of African origin. According to Nova Scotia based newspaper The News, the manufacturer made this pledge on November 24 in partnership with the African Nova Scotian Partnership network and the provincial government. As part of the agreement, Michelin will share information on its hiring process with African Nova Scotian career centres across the province, where job opportunities are posted.
Details of a Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision, released November 20, confirm that retired Michelin Canada employee Everett Smith must pay some half of the tyre maker’s legal costs a dispute over pension contributions. The bill Mr. Smith now faces is said to be $300,000 (£160,000).
“As far as the bill, well, I don’t have $300,000,” the former forklift operator told the Chronicle Herald newspaper. “What they are going to do to me, I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. ” The appeals court decision confirms a March 2008 supreme court decision that Michelin did nothing wrong when it took breaks from contributing to the company pension plan between 1984 and 1988 and 1995 and 2001.
The final round of this year’s FIA GT Championship, which took place on the new Argentine circuit near Mendoza, saw a victory from the PZero Racing-equipped Saleen S-7R from Longin-Kumpen (PeKa Racing). This triumph compensated the Belgian squad for the bad luck they endured earlier in the season, and highlighted the partnership between the American supercar and Pirelli tyres: a combination that has, comments Pirelli, been winning since 2004.