MAI Sees Positive Results From Chinese Takeover
Since the Italian MAI Group acquired the OTR assets of China’s Shandong Jinyu Tire Co. Ltd. one and a half years ago, a few developments have occurred at the company's new production site. According to Ian Thomas, the Italian OTR tyre specialist’s head of sales and marketing, over the last 18 months production technology at the Dongying (Shandong Province) site has reached European levels. Investments have been made in shearography equipment and today in China the company is able to examine 100 per cent of the tyres it produces before delivery. Furthermore, MAI has placed several of its own top people into the acquired factory’s management, and the majority of engineers in its R&D department come from Turkey, where the Mai-Group already operates its second factory. Equally positive are the developments made in the compound used in China. “We are a European tyre manufacturer with a factory in China,” clarified Ian Thomas – the company, it would seem, has nothing in common with the “usual suspects” in China.
In the new China factory, now trading under the name MAI (Shandong) Radial Tire Co., Ltd., the group exclusively produces radial tyres between 25 and 35-inches, the same sizes produced in the Turkish factory. Significant plans for expanding production exist, however: within 18 months MAI intends to develop a 27.00R49 tyre in China. According to Thomas, the new OTR tyre brand manufactured by the Mai-Group in China, has been well-received in the market, and therefore its expansion holds much promise. Currently the “Maxam” tyre brand is already delivered to twelve global partners. China is of course the home market for the new company, even though the majority of orders in this country are still for cross-ply tyres – which the MAI Group does not manufacture. “We persist in our attempts to convince the Chinese about our radial tyres,” states Thomas confidently.
The Shandong Jinyu Tire Co. Ltd first began manufacturing OTR tyres almost three years ago, yet recently the company has wished to concentrate upon the truck tyre and, more recently, passenger car tyre business, export department manager Jia Min explains to Tyres & Accessories. Proceeds from the sale of the OTR tyre factory have been used to part-finance the construction of its first passenger car tyre factory. The first passenger car tyres were delivered under the “Jinyu” and “Black Lion” brands in July. At present the company claims an annual production capacity of three million units at its new factory. Within the next two to three years the factory, located around 50 kilometres away from its truck tyre factory (and former OTR tyre factory) should be turning out 10.5 million passenger car tyres per year. Furthermore, an annual production of 21 million passenger car tyres does not seem like pie in the sky, according to the company’s official information. Jinyu will invest RMB 1.5 billion (£135 million) to reach a production capacity of 10.5 million tyres, the export manager discloses. International business will then really take off, the manufacturer hopes.