Following the publication of an interview with representatives of China’s Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber tyre manufacturing business, Cooper Tire & Rubber Europe has expressed “surprise” at one particular reported detail. In an email to Tyres & Accessories the company’s marketing and communications manager, Sarah McRoberts contested any suggestion that the company “was claiming to make tyres for Cooper.”
Maxxis Tyres has teamed up with Japfest – Europe’s Biggest Japanese Car Show – to offer Tyres & Accessories/tyrepress.com readers a 25 per cent discount on event tickets. Readers can book tickets online at japfest.co.uk or by calling 0871 230 5577 and quoting code MAX01. Simply book tickets before 30 April to pay just £15 for entry (usually £20 on the day).
Japfest is being held on Saturday 14 May 2011 at Castle Combe Circuit where over 15,000 people are expected to pack out the Wiltshire Circuit.
Michelin’s missing one-of-a-kind stained glass windows may have end up in Oz. The focus of Michelin's window hunt has moved to Australia following tip-offs that the glassware featuring the Michelin man Bibendum could have been shipped down under. The antipodean link has emerged out of information submitted to Michelin through its stained glass amnesty, issued over four months ago. Michelin set up a confidential hotline and amnesty web page to allow people to leave their clues anonymously in the search for the original stained glass windows that once adorned the Michelin House building in London.
Results from the poll of 5,000 motorists showed a large percentage failed to correctly answer a number of general knowledge and picture questions covering The Highway Code. 48 per cent of those surveyed also didn’t know that the typical stopping distance for a car driving at 50mph is 53 metres or 13 car lengths. Nearly a fifth thought they could get away with 36 metres.
Goodyear’s apparent ‘safety ambassador’ at the firm's Blimp re-introduction to UK airspace was Quentin Wilson, who voiced support for the company’s efforts to raise road safety awareness in this area.
“Say ‘road safety’ and people reach for the valium,” Wilson said during a press conference at the launch, explaining that motorists have had enough of speed-camera-politics and apparently disingenuous claims that these have delivered safer roads and not just higher revenues.
Blitz Rotary, who claim to be European leaders in truck lifting technology, are exhibiting at April's CV Show, at the NEC. The company employs the most modern methods of manufacture including fully automatic production facilities featuring welding robots; this results in a very high number of consistently accurate and high quality components being produced in-house.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has declared that he "wants London to be the electric car capital of Europe." He was speaking as Jon Goodman, MD of Peugeot UK, presented him with an all-electric Peugeot iOn.
The iOn, which is one of the first zero-emission tailpipe emissions cars to go on general sale, had just finished a whirlwind tour of major Peugeot dealerships in the UK.
Alcar Wheelwright managing director Kevin Greer has reported a notable area of success in a UK wheel market battling hard against a medium-term slump, which looks set to continue in many segments. The wheel aftermarket is described by the Kent based importer as “difficult and depressed”, but the company is playing up the success of its recently expanded Calibre range, which it says has seen a significant level of interest from both the UK and increasingly mainland Europe. Alcar says the retro styles: Eclipse, Vice, Bomb and especially Vintage fill a gap in a European “look market” it describes as “hungry”.
Available in various fitments for 18 and 19-inch diameter rim sizes in the UK and mainland Europe from March 28, 2011 is the Avon ZZ5 ultra high performance tyre, following high speed durability testing at the Nürburgring, among other places. The tyre has what manufacturer Cooper Avon terms an “Intelligent Asymmetric Tread Design” and “Optinoise” technology for a quieter ride. The company says the tyre’s development on European roads and racetracks have given it improved handling and grip capabilities. The tyre is aimed at the small-medium high performance sector, typified by such models as the Audi S4 and Lotus Evora.
Since ETRMA made its research public, most of the named tyre manufacturers have remained silent, however representatives of the largest Chinese-based tyre manufacturer named by the survey responded by writing to ETRMA asking for more information about the testing methodology. Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber, which is responsible for manufacturing the Westlake brand, is asking for access to the tested tyres for tracing purposes, re-testing the tyres at an independent test centre in the UK and has subsequently taken legal action in Germany.
Speaking at a press conference in London on 23 March, technical consultants working on behalf of Hangzhou Zhongce-owned brand Westlake explained that they have hired ETRMA-accredited test centre Rubber Consultants (formerly known as TARRC) in a bid to demonstrate compliance with Reach legislation. Hertford-based Rubber Consultants announced that it had been acknowledged by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers' Association (ETRMA) as a certified independent testing body on 22 March. One of the first jobs Rubber Consultants carried out for the ETRMA in this capacity was to independently verify the initial findings of the association’s tests into compliance of the Reach regulation regarding PAH oils.
The jury is still out – so to speak – on whether or not there will be any action taken as result of the recent ETRMA findings relating to clean oil compliance in tyres. The official body responsible for enforcement of the Reach rules in the UK, the Environment Agency (EA) was one of the first to go on the record in response to the ETRMA’s findings. In a statement entitled “ETRMA press release – our view” the EA summed up its position.
“We have received information from…ETRMA about possible breaches of REACH restriction 50 concerning PAHs in extender oils and tyres. This information was released by the ETRMA in a press release [on] 1 March 2011…” EA said in the statement dated 7 March.
Already purportedly the largest tyre manufacturer based in China (with annual turnover equating to around US$3.38 billion in 2010) and currently number 11 in the world, Hangzhou Zhongce reports that it expects to climb up the rankings following the opening of a new factory during the middle of next year.
In the medium term the ambition (something that Chinese manufacturers are seldom short of) is for the company to maintain a top 10, perhaps ninth, and beyond. Although this could mean leap-frogging other fast-growing Far Eastern competitors (including the increasingly influential Korean set), during a recent meeting in London with executives and research and development heads Hanzhou Zhongce representatives reiterated their intentions of becoming world-class players, inviting partners to “craft a better future” through the Chinese tyre maker's Westlake brand. The CEO of the Westlake brand, who reports directly to the president of Hangzhou Zhongce and who was introduced as Mr. Ge, was in attendance.
Bridgestone representatives have informed Tyres & Accessories of the sad loss of Mike Swain who died suddenly on the afternoon of Saturday 27 March 2011. Mike Swain has played an active part of the tyre industry for many years and will be missed by friends and colleagues alike. His funeral is on Monday 4 April 2011 at 14:40 at Woodlands Crematorium, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO12 6QN
A couple of months ago, Marangoni began producing and marketing retreaded truck and OTR tyres under the “Marix” brand, a name previously reserved for passenger car, light commercial and 4×4 tyres. The Italian retreader previously relied upon the strength of its “Marangoni” brand, however it chose to respond to a changing competitive landscape by modifying its brand concept and in future will, according to Brenno Benaglia, pursue a clearer brand concept.
On March 28, Goodyear Tire & Rubber announced a public offering of 8.7 million shares of its mandatory convertible preferred stock, with a price of US$50 a share. In addition, the underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 1.3 million shares of mandatory convertible preferred stock. The offering is expected to close on March 31, 2011, subject to customary closing conditions.