The new Michelin XHA2 loader tyre, introduced in early January at the Intermat trade show’s press days, has been designed to accomplish three goals: reduce hourly operating costs, ensure that work continues smoothly and safely, and improve operator working conditions. The tyre is intended for loaders in quarries and cement plants and on construction and infrastructure worksites. The XHA2 will be officially unveiled at the Intermat 2009 building and construction trade show in April 2009. The tyre will be available in replacement markets around the world beginning in May 2009.
Autocar’s latest tyre test reports on the extent of the performance gap between premium and budget products when it comes to wet weather handling. Autocar tested five leading budget brands (GT Radial, Linglong, Nankang, Triangle and Wanli) against an established Continental tyre. The magazine conducted its own tests for wet handling and braking, dry handling and braking and aquaplaning, plus a stringent high-speed test at the Contidrom test centre in Hannover. Summing up Autocar senior tester Jamie Corstorphine said: “We expected the bargain tyres in this test to fall short of the Continental, but we were not prepared for just how poorly some performed.”
Schaeffler Group and Continental AG walked away empty handed from financial support talks with federal ministers. They also received this advice: a “viable and forward-looking” plan, agreed on with creditors, is “a prerequisite for further negotiations.” According to an earlier Reuters report, Schaeffler Group had “sounded out” the German government about the possibility of 4 billion euros ($5.23 billion) in capital. The Federal talks came after talks with German states, including Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Baden-Wuerttemberg were unsuccessful. For its part Bavaria’s government said only loan guarantees would be considered.
The delegation will have to rethink its approach after German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said taxpayers wouldn’t be funding Schaeffler: “It’s not the job of the state to intervene in cases in which business decisions were possibly not thought through enough,” Steinbrueck Berliner Zeitung.
Just a couple of months after its debut at November’s Essen Motor Show, Tyres & Accessories has heard that Marangoni’s souped-up 233 bhp Alfa Romeo MiTo project car recently encountered an altogether more normal problem. Yes, you guessed it, the MiTo’s specialist Mythos tyres decided to suck up a nail. However, all was not lost as company representatives decided to practice what they preach and make use of their own lifetime warranty.
The rogue nail attacked the MiTo’s special “fire red” 18-inch Marangoni Mythos tyres during a recent test drive by a leading consumer press title at Bruntingthorpe Test Ground. Unbeknown to the test drivers, the puncture occurred just one week and only 1,000 miles after this set of tyres had been fitted. The puncture only became apparent when preparing the car for a special press photo shoot.
The predecessor of Nankang Rubber Tire Co. Ltd, Nankang Rubber Plant, was founded in Taipei city, Taiwan in 1945, mainly producing rickshaw tyres, rubber shoes and industrial products. In 1959, the company underwent privatisation and was reorganized as Nankang Rubber Tire Co. Ltd., as it has been for the past 50 years. To meet the growth of business scale, a second plant was established in Shin-Fung, Hsinchu County in 1973. In 1997, the latest plant, Nankang International Co., was finally set up in Zhangjiagang free trade zone, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China, with the highest production capacity of 37,000 pieces a day. This month, as the company reaches the half century mark, Tyres & Accessories looks over the company’s five decades of history.
Back to 50 years ago, when the economic and industrial infrastructure was insufficient, and when the technology and raw material of the rubber industry was not easily accessible, Nankang Rubber Tire Co. had to rely on its own to overcome the challenges in terms of technical procedure, design and facilities.
“Kontrol Technology” is Hankook’s technology philosophy, which reflects how the tyre should perfectly control the interaction between the driver, the car and the road while in motion (the ‘K’ stands for kinetic). It is implemented to ensure that Hankook provides the greatest benefits and driving experiences to customers in terms of safety, driving comfort, handling, performance and environmental friendliness.
As well as a Kontrol Technology information booth at Sema, Hankook showcased its new, environmental tyre – enfren – which has completed the Kontrol Technology cycle and was launched in Korea. Hankook is exploring the possibility of a North American version within three years.
General Tire was introducing a new logo and marketing campaign for its Grabber light truck and SUV tyre, using the slogan “unbridled fury”, so said Kenny Sergeant, of Speedfreaks, on General Tire’s stand at the Sema show.
Sergeant reminded visitors of the success that Grabber has enjoyed in off-road motorsports and General is bringing the same proven off-road competition technology to the light truck market with the introduction of the new DOT legal General Grabber.
A tough, three-ply reinforced body construction and a race-proven Duragen tread compound stand up to the rigours of off-road, as well as, highway conditions. General Grabber’s optimised tread design and multiple tread edges work to deliver great side bite and lateral traction – especially in off-road conditions. Puncture resistant sidewalls and a specially-designed rim protection rib assure the tyre can stand up to any terrain.
The dates for the shutdown of Pirelli’s factory in Carlisle have been confirmed – between February 24 and March 4, production at the plant will be cut to compensate for a dropping demand for passenger car tyres. The News & Star reports a company spokesman as saying “there will be a staged close down and restart commencing from February 24 until March 4. During this period it is anticipated there will be around six days shutdown per production department.”
According to the spokesman, Pirelli attempted to coincide the shutdown with the half-term school holiday break, but was unable to due to previous scheduled maintenance work.
Tyre recycling firm PYReco plans to build a pioneering £80 million tyre recycling plant in North East England, the first of its kind in Europe. The scheme is underway thanks, in part, to the support of Renew, an organisation tasked with driving a low carbon and sustainability agenda with industry in the region.
The plant will be built at the South Tees Eco Park (STEP) in Tees Valley by 2010. It will use the relatively novel process of pyrolysis, a method of degrading material through heat, to recycle 60,000 tonnes of used tyres a year, the equivalent of 7.5 million tyres, without waste or harmful emissions. It is estimated that plant will create 90 jobs for the region.
Traditionally the uncompromising properties of the material have meant that tyres have been difficult to re-cycle, most often burnt in cement kilns. PYReco’s plant will provide a closed loop recycling route, breaking down used tyres into their component parts capable of being used in the production of brand new units.
Norwegian manufacturer Fundo Wheels, original equipment tyre rim supplier to European vehicle producers, has been declared bankrupt. It is thought that the company’s 350 employees will lose their jobs.
The company’s poor performance is said to be strongly linked to the global automotive industry slump. The company’s owners are still seeking fresh capital, and a bank has secured operations for a further month to enable the company to complete orders for Volvo and Audi.
Falken has enjoyed considerable success in the comparatively new motorsport of drifting, with teams performing in vehicles shod with Falken Azenis RT-615. In fact, Falken was the first tyre manufacturer to back drifting when it was introduced to the USA in 2003.
In 2008, the company broadened its motorsports horizons when it took part in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) competition. This is unusual in the fact that open tyre competition is encouraged and there are six manufacturers currently in competition, developing tyres specifically suited to the 11 different tracks in the series.
Michelin’s Stoke on Trent facility is to halt production for 15 days between February and April, resulting in employees working nine less shifts within this time period. Employees will be required to work five of these shifts at a later date, and will receive 50 per cent pay for the remaining four cancelled shifts. The dates for the shutdown of the company’s Remix truck tyre lines are reported to be February 21 to March 2 and between April 9 and 15.
A recall of US market Michelin Pilot Alpin tyres is underway in the US. A total of 784 Pilot Alpin PA2 ZP 225/50R17 94H tyres manufactured between September 17, 2006 and June 14, 2008 are included in the recall. These tyres, reports the NHTSA, fail to conform to US labelling requirements as the “DOT” symbol is not present of the sidewall and therefore the tyre contains no declaration as to its certification.
Michelin will notify owners and replace the noncompliant tyres free of charge, including mounting and balancing. The recall is expected to begin during January.
Over the past several years, tyre distributor Star Group Shanghai Co. Ltd. (Star-Tyre) has experienced rapid growth. The company’s inventory encompasses over twenty-three different popular brands of Chinese tyres, and the company reports it has strategically aligned itself with a number of China’s leading tyre manufacturers – a move Star-Tyre believes has brought about one of its greatest advantages.
The Shanghai headquartered firm operates distribution warehouses in China’s Qingdao, Shanghai, Dalian and Tianjin regions, and keeps considerable stock in its premises, which are located near major international seaports. This gives, says Star-Tyre, the company the opportunity to provide faster and more effective delivery to its clientele in any world destination. The distributor adds that its ability to purchase products in volume affords it a price advantage over competitors – an advantage Star-Tyre says it passes onto its customers in the form of a better purchase price.
Michelin has been selected by Renault Trucks as exclusive tyre supplier for the upcoming Cape-to-Cape rally. This is the second occasion on which the two companies have together embarked on such an undertaking – in 2005 Michelin and Renault jointly participated in the Silk Road event. The new adventure, which gets underway on 1 March, 2009, will see six Renault Kerax and six Renault Sherpa trucks drive the length of the planet, north to south, on Michelin XZL tyres. The vehicles (and their tyres) will cross 21 countries, covering a total of 30,000 kilometres in extremely challenging conditions, ranging from the icy cold of northern climates to the oppressive heat of the desert and from harsh, rugged terrain to soft, loose ground.