The number of vehicles utilising run-flat tyres is increasing year by year, and while typical application allows such tyres to be used for a set distance following a loss of air pressure, different issues come into play when run-flats are fitted to a vehicle that is towing a caravan or trailer. This warning has been voiced by Protyre, who says that while normally inflated run-flat tyres on a vehicle towing a caravan or trailer can be treated in the same way as a standard tyre, a deflated run-flat is only designed to cope with the demands of a solo vehicle. The additional mass of a towed caravan or trailer subjects the tyre to higher stress levels and impacts on the tyre’s in-built torsional and lateral stability. The consequences of this is, notes Protyre, that even when travelling at a restricted speed of 50 mph for 50 miles – the speed and distance recommended by most manufactures of this type of tyre – the additional flexibility of the deflated run-flat tyre may negatively affect the stability of the car/caravan combination.
The rise in online tyre shopping seems set to remain ongoing, but will this trend prompt another more worrying development in terms of consumers fitting appropriate tyres to their equipment? Tyresafe believes that as e-Commerce continues to boom motorists looking to online retailers for their next pair of tyres are putting their safety at risk by selecting tyres with a lower speed symbol than recommended for their car. This error is not always made unintentionally, says the campaign; in fact, there is a danger that some customers are deliberately choosing lower speed rated tyres due to the lower prices yielded in online comparisons. With safe vehicle handling largely dependent on using the right type of tyres for the car, TyreSafe is urging motorists to consider that selecting tyres of the recommended size, load index and speed symbol is essential to safe driving.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe comments that, “When shopping for tyres, many motorists hold the misconception that their choice of speed symbol should be determined by how fast they drive. The reality is that a tyre’s speed symbol is not just a measure of the tyre’s maximum speed capability; it also provides an indication of overall performance, even at lower speeds. While many motorists may be feeling the pinch in the current economic climate, we would encourage them not to compromise on road safety. Driving on tyres with a lower speed symbol than recommended may seriously compromise vehicle handling, putting the driver and other road users at risk. It could also cause irreversible damage through exaggerated wear or sidewall cracking.”
The latest addition to Continental’s industrial tyre portfolio is the radial ContiRV20, a product designed for what the company calls the toughest of environments – airport ground support. Three key qualities serve as important selling points for the new tyre; Conti reports the ContiRV20 delivers longer lifespan, low rolling resistance and comfortable handling at higher speeds. The manufacturer adds that this is the first time these three benefits have been combined within a single radial pneumatic industrial tyre.
A group of six US tyre importers – including two major private branders – have joined forces to battle efforts by the United Steelworkers to limit the importation of China-made passenger tyres. The group, which calls itself the American Coalition for Free Trade in Tires, includes Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. and Del-Nat Corp., as well as importers American Omni Trading Co., Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc., Orteck Global Supply & Distribution Co., and Foreign Tire Sales Inc.
In 2007, Foreign Tire Sales faced the recall of some 250,000 light truck tyres it imported from China’s Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber. Less than 20,000 of those tyres were recovered in the recall, which threatened to bankrupt the importer. The group has retained Washington, D.C., law firm Jochum Shore & Trossevin to represent it in the matter. (Tire Review/Akron)
The Imported Tyre Manufacturers’ Association has launched a European Technical Group, aimed at better supporting its member companies across the 27 member states of the EU. Speaking about the new initiative, ITMA Director Peter Taylor said: “The tyre industry is facing a deluge of new Directives and Regulations and we must organise ourselves better in order to prepare to deal with them. By sharing our individual resources in this way we can have a big impact.
“Across the Union, our members account for up to 40 million units annually and we must not allow ourselves to be marginalised or seen wanting. The formation of this group will help us to serve our members better, encourage others to join and give us a unique, new voice.” The group is comprised of tyre engineers and other specialists nominated by ITMA member companies from around the world; it has already held its first meeting.
Continental AG share fell 2.4 per cent today after a Reuters report suggested Conti’s banks oppose a the reverse takeover plan of current owner Schaeffler discussed in the press. According to the news, the biggest problem for the banks is the “significant increase in debt and therefore higher risks” for lending banks. Meanwhile Financial Times Deutschland reported that Continental’s banks are planning to set up a steering committee to represent their interests.
Following a career with Cooper Tire & Rubber spanning almost two entire decades, company vice president and chief financial officer Phil Weaver has announced plans to retire later this year. The 56-year old joined Cooper in 1990 and held the positions of tyre division controller (1990 to 1994) and tyre division vice president (1994 to 1998) before being appointed to his current role.
“I want to thank Phil for his years of service and commitment to Cooper Tire,” said Cooper Tire chairman, president and CEO Roy Armes. “While Phil was the CFO of Cooper, he was responsible for managing the finance function with a high level of integrity and within strict accordance with all federal and SEC regulations and guidelines. His contributions to the Company were key to many of the successes that Cooper has enjoyed.”
In the USA, giant parts supplier Visteon Corp. – faced with severely reduced demand from automakers, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to the Associated Press, Visteon filed its petition in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Last month, it’s Visteon UK subsidiary filed for bankruptcy protection and closed three UK plants.
With its first quarter financials, Visteon showed total liabilities of $3.96 billion and total assets of $4.56 billion. “During the reorganization period, we will seek to address our capital structure and legacy costs that are not sustainable given the current economic environment,” Donald Stebbins, chairman and CEO, said in a statement published by the AP.
Visteon, which in 2000 separated from Ford to become a stand alone company, said Ford has committed to support debtor-in-possession financing for Visteon’s restructuring. Visteon has also applied for court permission to continue serving customers and paying employees and vendors. (Tire Review/Akron)
Bridgestone has been named as a Superbrand for the second time. According to reports, the Superbrand title is valid for periods of two years at a time. Superbrands are selected by a panel of influential business journalists, advertising and public relations experts.
DN Tyre & Rubber Plc, formerly known as Dunlop Nigeria Plc, has taken delivery of the first consignment of tyres imported from South Africa. The company’s external communications manager Olusola Adebanjo said in a press statement that dealers in various regions have been “delighted” to receive the imported Dunlop brand tyres and that their delivery will end the tyre scarcity in the Nigerian market that followed the recent ending of local production.
“Our accredited dealers, who are placing orders will therefore be stocked with this product so as to satisfy the needs of premium vehicle owners who appreciate the superior quality of the brand,” said Adebanjo.
Freightliner, the UK’s largest haulier of maritime containers has extended its commercial tyre agreement with Bandvulc Tyre Contracts. Freightliner operates a fleet of over 300 road vehicles, for final delivery and collection of containers from customer’s premises. Using Bandvulc retreads across all of its drive and trailer axles, the agreement sees Bandvulc collecting and managing all of their tyres and disposing of them within environmental guidelines.
Richard Branston, general manager Road and Port Operations for Freightliner comments; “Bandvulc has been involved with Freightliner for over 10 years and the processes we have developed in conjunction with BTC have helped us control and manage our tyre policy effectively and recent developments have seen us extend this relationship further. The management and control of a nationwide operation required a comprehensive set of partners to work with and BTC’s network enabled service delivery 24/7/365 in all areas of the UK.”
The lockout at MRF Ltd’s Arakkonam factory in southeast India has been lifted – but many employees are refusing to return to work. An announcement from management regarding an end to the ten-day-old lockout was made on May 27, yet the company’s dispute with the MRF United Workers Union (MUWU), which declared a strike at the Arakkonam plant on May 9, remains an unresolved issue.
India’s Business Standard newspaper discloses that a number of MRF workers plan to file a Supreme Court petition against the company’s management. MUWU honorary president V. Prakash told the paper “we don’t have a choice but to file a petition in [the] Supreme Court” following recent failed talks. “The main plea would be to recognise the union,” he explained.
In the wake of Goodyear announced closure of its Amiens, France plant. Financial analysts have highlighted the ‘positive’ effect this will have on the tyre manufacturer’s “price discipline.” Amien has an annual capacity of approximately 6 million units, and its closure forms part of a Goodyear’s 15-25 million unit capacity reduction plan announced. When you factor in that the Amiens plant has between 800 and 1200 employees, the closure could result in cost savings of around $50 million, according to Deutsche Bank, with $700 million of gross cost savings expected this year.
Goodyear’s announcement follows a number of other capacity closures across Europe including: Continental closing its 8 million unit capacity PCR plant in Clairoix France; Pirelli closing its 4 million unit Maresa Spain factory, Michelin reducing its capacity in France, Italy and Spain by 14 million units. In the US capacity cuts have been even more stark with Cooper reducing capacity by 10 million units in Albany, GA; Michelin cutting 4 million units in Opelika; and Bridgestone eliminating 9 million units in Nashville. This all equates to around 40 million units of capacity reduction in the NAFTA region. And as a result of the supply demand balance, this is likely to “support price discipline” say the analysts.
Another crucial area of responsibility for ETC’s leadership is the development of new global test facilities, test equipment and methodology. For the time being, at least, this centres on two key multi-million dollar projects – the development of the company’s recently constructed R&D centre alongside its Hefei City, Anhui Province manufacturer facility and the design and construction of a new cutting edge proving ground. The idea here is to bring premium quality tyre testing and development to China in order to enable the entire global company to produce higher order products, with the ultimate aim of competing with the premium manufacturers.
What may well be the final chapter in the history of Cold War aggression has taken place in Boulder, Colorado: According to the Metro newspaper (a periodical described by its website as a “publishing phenomenon”) a 31-year-old man has named the disused Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, located near the city of Denver, as a contributory factor in a spate of tyre slashings he undertook.
It is unclear why the man, whom police have identified as Alexander Kabelis, selected tyres as the target of his malice, and attempts by the protagonist himself to explain his actions have only added to the baffling nature of the crime.