Strike action based on the demands for a minimum wage of 20 rand per hour for motor industry workers have begun today in South Africa, affecting plants belonging to Dunlop, Bridgestone and Continental, news sources have reported. Strikers are also demanding double-digit wage increases in the sector, with garage and component workers joining the action on Wednesday, 1 September.
Bridgestone has announced that it will raise the prices by between 3 and 6 per cent of its consumer, commercial and speciality tyres in Europe during October 2010. Bridgestone Europe CEO and president Makio Ohashi said that “historically high” raw materials prices had necessitated the hike, while “further increases will be necessary in the coming year”.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has called all of its outstanding senior notes due in 2011 and 2015 for redemption on 29 September, 2010. Goodyear intends to use net proceeds from its recent $1 billion issuance of 8.25 per cent senior notes due 2020 to fund these redemptions. The notes called for redemption are $388 million in principal amount of 7.857 per cent senior notes due on 15 August, 2011, $325 million in principal amount of 8.625 per cent senior notes due on 1 December, 2011, and $260 million in principal amount of 9 per cent senior notes due on 1 July, 2015.
From Continental’s perspective, sales across the EU in the truck tyre replacement market are up 29 per cent versus the same timeframe last year, with the UK figure said to be up 5.5 per cent, a few percentage points less than other estimates. Raw materials are still increasing, with the knock-on effect of pushing tyre prices up. Supply is also expected to be tight in the second half, as tyre manufacturers are struggling to meet the increase in demand (and cope with the shortage of raw materials). “We are also seeing a high level of hire vehicle utilisation which could lead to vehicle shortages towards the end of the year,” company representatives told Tyres & Accessories recently.
The impact of the correct tyre choices at the Belgian Grand Prix was underlined by the discrepant fortunes of old team-mates/enemies Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, with the former winning the race and the latter falling victim to poorly timed dry and wet weather tyre fitments. Hamilton used a soft – hard – intermediate tyre strategy throughout an afternoon in which team bosses’ eyes remained on the rain radar. Alonso gambled in qualifying, using up too many fresh soft compound Bridgestone Potenzas. Red Bull’s Mark Webber, an increasingly likely title-challenger, finished second after surviving a terrible start from pole, while Renault’s Robert Kubica finished third, once again underlining his class in a car many believe to be inferior to those of his closest championship rivals, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg.
OTR Tyres Ltd is to exhibit at the Recycling and Waste Management Exhibition (RWM) again this year OTR to promote the benefits of OTR Tyre Hire, a service exclusively designed for the waste management industry in addition to the company’s range of new and retreaded solid, cushion and pneumatic tyres.
Analysts from investment bank Morgan Stanley have recommend investors buy shares in “Michelin against Goodyear” following its Alphawise surveys in Europe and the US. Based on current market performance and taking catalysts into the equation, the analysts estimate that “Michelin are 20 per cent above consensus, while for Goodyear we are 15 per cent below the street.” As a result Cooper Tire shares are described as the firm’s preferred stock in North America, while in Europe, the bankers recommended Michelin and Pirelli over Continental and Nokian.
Maxxis International, which is owned by Cheng Shin Rubber has announced that it is to build a new production facility in Xiamen on China’s south east coast, where it already operates two successful factories. The announcement follows the news that the company will build a new plant in Chong Qing, south west China within a similar timeframe.
RoadSafe is urging transport minister Mike Penning, to maintain the MOT test as an annual check-up for vehicles. In 2008, the Department for Transport said the MOT failure rate was high, at 35 per cent. Between 2009 and 10, the failure rate continued its steady increase to 37 per cent. Despite this, the DfT is looking into reducing the required frequency of tests to fall in line with Europe.
In the UK, vehicles must have their first test within three years of registration, and annual tests thereafter. As a minimum, EU law requires vehicles to have their first test when they are four years old and subsequent tests every two years. Most European countries follow the EU minimum requirement and there is pressure on the UK to do the same. RoadSafe is warning that this will lead to more crashes, caused by poorly maintained vehicles.
Eric Le Corre has been appointed as managing director for Michelin Tyre PLC following the retirement of Jim Rickard. He brings with him experience of Michelin’s operations in Europe and North America after 11 years with the Company, most recently as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Michelin North America, based in Greenville.
Formula One is back this weekend after its summer break. Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps circuit saw Bridgestone’s soft tyre take Ferrari ‘s Fernando Alonso to the fastest time of the day amidst typically mixed weather conditions. Alonso set his 1m 49.032secs time on a largely dry track right at the end of the afternoon session, which was interrupted by a red flag period. Alonso was also fastest in the morning’s wet conditions, using Bridgestone’s wet tyre to set his time. The full weather range of Bridgestone Potenzas were used today, with the wet and intermediate as well as hard and soft dry slick tyres all seeing track action.
Cheshire-based bakery Frank Roberts & Sons has added two new Cartwright Multi-deck trailers fitted with Michelin X One MaxiTrailer tyres to its 70-strong fleet. Having gone to bespoke manufacturer Cartwright looking specifically for a high trailer with extra load capacity, the baker took the decision to trial the X One MaxiTrailer tyres for the improved stability they would provide the 4.5-metre-high trailers.
Toyo has announced that it will use the occasion of the 2010 Goodwood Revival (17-19 September) to launch two new additions to its Proxes tyre range. The motorsport-oriented Proxes T1 Sport and the ultra-high performance Proxes C1S will make their debuts at the show, at which Toyo is the Exclusive Tyre Partner for the first time. Sarah Clavey, Toyo’s senior marketing executive, said: “This is the first year we are exclusive tyre partners for the Goodwood Revival, and what better way to mark the occasion than to launch the new additions of our Proxes range. To launch them at such a prestigious event is a great opportunity for Toyo Tires.”
Chinese petrochemical product manufacturer Keyuan Petrochemicals reports it entered into land use right transfer agreements with local government agencies on August 18. Following their approval, the company will instigate plans for expansion on an 111,500 square metre site adjacent to its existing plant in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. In addition to building a storage and several manufacturing facilities as originally planned, the company has now announced it also intends to establish a Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene (SBS) production plant on the site. Work will begin in the third quarter of 2010.
Orange may well be the new green, at least when it comes to reducing dependency on petroleum resources. This is the message Yokohama Tire Corporation’s director of technical services Dan Guiney is bringing with him to the Tire Industry Association Environmental Symposium, scheduled to be held between September 30 and October 2 in the US state of Maryland. Guiney will discuss the technology involved in Yokohama’s utilisation of orange oil to create a passenger car tyre that is 80 per cent petroleum free.
“Yokohama is a leader in showing how to break free from conventional thinking in order to develop products that are environmentally friendly and cost-efficient. TIA is proud to be able to provide our Environmental Symposium attendees with such a world-class opportunity,” said TIA executive vice president Roy Littlefield.